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[The Sighi of TramlaHcn it usmred,] 



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• • • !••• •• • 

• • •• •• • *•• • ••• 

.> ■ . , • * 



NovbI piQfesBion— Departure firom England— Frimiiiye life— First 
impressions — " Dido's "Tisit — ^Appearance of Sar&wak — Sor- 
rounding scenery — Exposure to son — Besolt — Climate— 
Moonlight— First discomforts — Snakes— Complaints— Yisit to 
Londn- The Dyaks— Ascent of mountain — Chinese gardens— 
Fctifol story— Visit tp Sakarang— Mr. Brereton's fort— Sari- 
bns — The Orang Kaya — Malay disposition— Expedition 
against the Chinese— Their hmnble bearing — Erection of 
fart — The Qaop riyer — Departure for Lnndn — Arrival — 
Kindness of Dyaks— Death of Lee — ^His character — ^Disas- 
trooB attack on the Dyak enemy— Walks in Lnndu- Dyak 
anecdote— Appointment to lingga — Ferocity of alligator • 


rChart — Yocabnlary — Position — Bonndaries — Malays —Land 

> Dyaks — Deriyation of word— Locality — Hindooism — Sea 

Dyaks— Number— Localities— Languages — Customs — Theo- 

J" lies— Origins— Dyak religion— Code— Omens — Future state 

^' — Suicide — Listances— Maladies— Longevity — Calculation of 

p time — Padi farming — Crops — Administration of justice — 

^ Albinoee, Menangs, or soothsayers — ^Epithets of surprise — 

^ Extraordinary practices — Maias, their instinct— Fallacious 

<i ideas— What occasioned by— Dimensions of Maias— Female 

3 characteristics — Appearance, behaviour, &c, — Jealousy— 

-^ Fourth division— Malanau— Localities— Names of branches 



— ^Eractices — ^Human saciifioe — Oharaoter — Caimibalism — 
Core of sick — Absurd ceremony — ^Burials-* Frorision for 
future life— Inhabitants— -From whence amred— Suppositions 
— ^Position of coxmtry— Ohina-^Qiadnal change— Articles of 
value— General migration from the north— The Chinese — 
Their qualities — Capabilities 43 


lingga — Situation and population — ^Alligators'— Manner of catch-' 
ing— Excursion to interior — Tabooed riyer — ^Fish poisoning — 
Venomous ants— Discomfort— Dyak reception — Doctoring^ — 
Bad government — Old ladies — ^Inveterate talkers — Dyak im- 
petaosity — ^Man wounded^— Superstition — Deer-snaring — ^Trip 
to Sibuyau — ^Night walk — Thorns — ^Maias' habits — ^Tabarong 
conferanoe — Contradictory reports— Enemies and half-ficiends 
''4Seoond trip to Sibuyau — ^Eyil spirits — Scenery-— Gamang 
—Initiation— Monkey killed— Saribus Dyaks' depredations — 
Dandi expedition — ^Pa Dendang— Biver dangeis— Sakazang 
— ^Dyak custom — ^Bequisition — ^Yisit to Dyak homes — Inland 
march— Difficult walking— Halt— Conference — Division of 
force— Panic— Confusion— Betum—Woxmded men— Enemy's 
phivalry— Dead fiailure— Attack on Bugau Dyaks— Captives 
— Their behaviour— Sungei Lang expedition — Conference — 
Advance— Engagemenir— Victory— ^Betum— Fatal sickness — 
Death of Mend — Solitary abode— Dyak custom— Deaths by 
Saribus Dyaks — Old ladies — ^Their power — Malpractioes— 
Complainta— Belief of afflicted— Shocking conduct— Trial of 
strength— Quiet resignation 87 


Sakarang— First Dyak case— Dyak memory— Letters— Sandom's 
occupation— His stealth— Alarm— Craving for head hunting 
^Mode of stoppage — Collection of heads— Punishment-^ 
Aiug's value— Baduoing a Dyak to reason— Quarrel and life 
^»ken— Heavy fine— Its efficacious result— Dyak peccadillo— 

G0NTEN1& Tii 


The father suffers for the daughter — Graye decision— Assault 
of alligator — SuperstitLoiis modes — ^Feasts — ^Mukah massacre 
-^Bnins — ^Braiun — ^Amicable encounter — Soliloquy — ^A peace 
concluded — Sarikei Port — ^Feyer and ague — ^Byak social 
economy— Female sinners— Murders at Kaluka— Visit of 
young ladies— An insects' nest — ^Preparalion for inland attack 
— Eajulan expedition — Conference — Unlucky accident — 
Stoppage of communication — Journal of incidents — Bapids 
— ^Dilatoriness— Council of war — ^Dyak deyils — ^An unpleasant 
Mend— Our march — Old jungles— Biyouac—Natiye kindli- 
ness — Continued old jungles — ^Betreat of enemy — Vacated 
houses — ^Burning of houses — ^Plunder — ^Dangerous incident^- 
Deyastation completed— Homeward march — An alarm — 
Unpleasant spectacle — Sadji's yaunt — ^Betum home — ^Dyak 
oonyendon to Tslamism — ^Aixiyal of Chinese gold workers — 
Cayes — ^Accident — Orang Kaya's grief— Dyak obseryations . 136 


Braiun — ^Visitors— Summoned to Sar&wak — Small-pox — ^Bough 
journey — Conyersation with Mend — Our adyentures — 
Pleasure on arriyal — Speedy return — Stunning report — 
Departure— Europeans at Lingga wounded— Departure for 
Sarawak- Meet the Bajah— Appearance of things — Useless 
apprehensions — ^The enemy's flight — ^Their extreme distress — 
A panic — ^My return to Sakarang— Dyak head-taking — ^Pur- 
suit— Night watching and pulling — Quick return— Alligator's 
grip— Wonderful recoyery— Expedition to Sadok— Sandom 
again — ^Ascent of Sakarang riyer— Scenes — Confidence of 
Dyaks — Communings — Council of war — ^Land march — Sight 
of Sadok— Sudden fresh— Ascent of mountain— First alarm 
— Second ditto— Wounded and killed— Night quarters— Sum- 
mit— Iron anchor — ^Fortify our position — Parties foray below 
—Enemy in rear — State of camp — Continued rain — Our lasjb 
attack and £Eulure — ^Obliged to descend— Enemy's yelling-« 
Beach boat&— Disasters of ditto — Our descent and troubles 
— Safe arriyal at home • 204 




Turtles— Their egg&— Trip— Cholera — Superetitioii — Saribus— 
Balla — ^Intended excursion — ^Defeat of ditto — Adyance to 
Padeh— Burning of houses — Cholera— Building of fort— Fitz 
Cruickshank left in charge— Dyak decapitation — Eiendiah 
proceeding — ^Eeach Sakarang — ^Mode of life— Dyak interest-— 
Saribus again — Startling zidports — ^Attack — Loss of enemy- 
Mr. Watson's anival — ^Meet Saribus Malays — Conference— 
My return — ^Preparations for another attack— Ascent of San- 
bus — ^Laborious work — Encounter — Death of Sadji — Qood 
riddance — ^Further ascent — Our bivonac — Fortifications *- 
Inland march — Steepness of mountains — ^Remarks on march- 
ing — Fatigue — ^Ee-enter camp— Wounded Dyak — Start for 
Sadok— Mortar— Extreme heat— Ascent of monntain— Eesult 
of mortar firing — Our killed and wounded — ^The enemy's 
coolness and yaunt — Our failure and descent — ^Bmial of dead 
— ^Beach boats — Downward journey — Sandom's advice — 
Besult of expedition — Undercuirents — Bemarks on the style 
of life— Agricultural intentions, &c. — ^Unforeseen occurrences 
—Disappointment , 264 


"Visit to Bejang—Kanowit— Steele's escapes— Isolated position — 
Slave-bom followers— Mukah—Mathusein's position— Diffi- 
culties — Dispersion of his enemy's forts — Fine demanded — 
Mathusein released — ^Proximity of Seriff Massahore — ^Trade 
restored — Betum — Saribus head-hunting — Punishments — 
Messrs. Fox and Steele mnrdered— Deep conspiracy — Cogita- 
tions — Suspicions — Council of war — ^Expedition to Bejang — 
Abang Ali's good fiEiith — Summary treatment at Sarikei — 
Gang of murderers — Seriff Massahore's visit— Armed followers 
— ^Execution of fortmen— Kanowit — Sad sight— Buins— New 
fort — Council of war— Dyak attack— Their fiuluro— Our ad- 
vance march— Enemy's position— Firing— Attempt to save 
lives— Assault— Dyak daring— Dreadful conflagration— ^Loss 
of life— Poisoned arrows— Deadly effects— Betuzn—Lintong 



— ^Difficnlties mth friends— Tisit to Seriff Maasahore— Betum 
to Sar&wak — Prosperity — Datu Hac|ji — His baniahment — 
Btm^>eans armed — Oonspiracy — Extra watcli and barring in 
— ^The bore in Batang Lnpar — Dyak lady's affection — ^Lela 
Felavan — His wisdom — ^Dyak fortmen — Absurd customs — 
Dyak hero-worship — ^Marriage proceedings, Christian and 
Mahomedan *•••••••••• 325 


For " Abong," in one or two places, rwd " Abang." 
For " Fitee," in one or two places, read " Fitz." 
For "Miidah," passim, rtad "Muda." 



THB tuan-kuba's besidekce .... FrontUpUee 


sabXwax biveb sceneby 105 

byax bbidge alo) abode • ' • 220 

plak of f0btipigati0k8 in mxjkah ik the attack 

KIPAH 332 

ATTACK OK KABAH, 1859 348 


I HAVE been requested by tke publishers to affix a 
few prefatory remarks to my nepbeVs book upou 
Sardwak, and having read the sheets aa they were 
passing through the press I willingly do so. Its defects 
I leave others to discover ; I do not coincide in all his 
opinions, nor do I agree with many of his theories ; 
but the simple and truthful narrative of his adventures 
as the leader of the wild and numerous Dyak tribes, 
will interest many readers as it has interested me. 

He is looked up to in that country as the chief of 
all the Sea Dyaks, and his intimate knowledge of their 
language, their customs, their feelings, and their habits 
far exceeds that of any other person. His task has 
been successfully accomplished, of trampling out the 
last efforts of the piratical Malayan chiefs, and their 
supporters amongst the Dyaks of Saribus, and of the 


other countries lie has described He first gained over 
a portion of these Dyaks to the cause of order, and 
then used them as his instruments in the same cause, 
to restrain their countrymen. The result has been 
that the coast of Sardwak is as safe to the trader as 
the coast of England, and that an unarmed man cotdd 
traverse the country without let or hindrance. It is 
a gratification to me to acknowledge my nepheVs 
devotion to the cause to which my own life has been 
devoted. It is weU that his strength has come to 
supply my weakness, and that his energies and his 
life (if needed) should be given to establish the gover- 
norship and promote the happiness of the people of 
Sar&wak. My career draws on to its close, but I have 
confidence that no consideration wiU turn him from 
the work which I shall leave for his haod to do. Did 
I know him less I should praise him more, and 
I consult his feelings rather than my own in not 
pursuing the theme. 

I once had a day-dream of advancing the Malayan 
race by enforcing order and establishing self-govern- 
ment among them; and I dreamed, too, that my 
native country would derive the benefit of positicm, 


influence, and commerce^ without the responidbilitiea 

£Doni which she ahrinks. But the dieam ended wkh 

tixe first waking realiiy, and I found how true it is, 

that nations are like men; that the young hope 

more than they fear, and that the old fear more than 

they hope — ^that England had ceased to be enter- 

piising, and could not look forward to obtaining great 

ends by small meana^ perseveringly applied, and that 

the dependencies are not now regarded as a field of 

outlay, to yield abundant national returns, but as a 

source of wasteftd expenditure, to be wholly cut oft 

The cost ultimately ^^ may verify an old adage, and some 

day England may wake from her dream of disastrous 

economy,^' as I have awakened from my dream of 

extended usefulness. I trust the consequences may 

not be more hurtful to her than they have been to me. 

Since this I have found happiness in advancing 
the happiness of my people, who, whatever may be 
their faults, have been true to me and mine through 
good report and evil report, through prosperity and 
through misfortune. 

The principle of the Government of Sar&wak is to 
rule for the people and with the people, and to teach 


them the rights of free men imder the restraints of 
government. The majority in the "Council" secures 
a legal ascendancy for native ideas of what is best for 
their happiness here and hereafter. The wisdom of 
the wHte man cannot become a hindrance, and their 
English ruler must be their friend and guide, or 
nothing. The citizen of Sardwak has every privilege 
enjoyed by the citizen of England, and far more per- 
sonal freedom than is known in a thickly populated 
country. They are not taught industry by being 
forced to work. They take a part in the government 
under which they live ; they are consulted upon the 
taxes they pay ; and, in short, they are free men. 

This is the Government which has struck its roots 
into the soil for the last quarter of a century, which 
has triumphed over every danger and difficulty, and 
which has inspired its people with confidence. 

Sar&wak has now been recognised as an Independent 
State by America, by England, and by Italy; and with 
increasing population, trade, and revenue, she may 
look forward to maintain her position and extend her 
influence still fturther. But to secure permanency, she 
needs the protection of an enlightened nation, to 


sastain her eflfort of seK-govemment ; and this pro- 
tection she conld repay by equivalent advantages. 
Failing this object, the past may become a guide for 
the future, and enable Sardwak to stand alone for the 
welfare of her people. 

With this brief notice, I leave the Tuan-Muda's 
work to the kindly consideration of the reader. 


January Wi, 1866. 



t- — — 




Naval profession— Departnre from England— Primitiye life — ^First im- 
pressions—'' Dido's" visit— Appearance of Sar&wak — Surrounding 
scenery— -Ezpoeuro to sun— Besult — Climate— Moonlight— First 
diaoomforts— Snakee— Complaints- Visit to Lundu— The Dyaks — 
Ascent of mountain — Chinese gardens— Pitiful story— Visit to 
Sakarang— Mr. Breroton's fort— Saribns — ^The Orang Kaya— 
Malay disposition — ^Expedition against the Chinese— Their humble 
bearing — Erection of fort- The Quop river — Departure for 
LnndxL— Arrival— Kindness of Dyaks— Death of Lee— His charac- 
ter — ^Disastrous attack on the Dyak enemy— Walks in Lundu— 
Dyak anecdote— Appointment to Lingga— Ferodty of alligator. 

I ENTERED the Eoyal Navy when a Kttle over 
twelve years of age, and after ten years* service 
applied for my discharge, but owing to the kind 
influence of Captain (now Admiral) Sir James Hope, I 
gsuned my lieutenant's step, and was subsequently 
able to obtain from the Admiralty two years leave of 
absence, to try my fortunes in Borneo. At the end of 


the leave, I finally quitted the service, though had 
circumstaaces obliged me to remain another year, in 
all probability the Russian War would have altered 
my ideas and prospects for life. I had only seen 
active service in KeppeU's expeditions, and in Admiral 
Sir T, Cochrane's squadron in these seas, against the 
pirates of the northern coast of Borneo. 

I consider the navy particularly useful as a pre- 
paratory school for adventurers seeking their fortunes 
in the world, — more especially in the primitive parts 
of it ; for there is Uttle doubt after the life aboard ship, 
any discomforts subsequently experienced are lightly 
felt, and roughing aahore is made easy. Besides, the 
naval education combines a little soldiering, a know- 
ledge of the artillery drill, and the management 
of guns, Bs well as skill in matters directly 
nautical. One acquires also some idea of carpenter- 
ing, and laat, but not least, an eye for management 
and order. 

I bade adieu to my loving friends in England, and 
reached Sor&wak on the 21st day of July, 1852^ a 
day which is always labelled in my miod as an 
unusually important date. 

The European habits at that remote period of the 
young state, may be pictured as exceedingly primitive. 
On my landing in the afitemoon, I met two officers 


occupying high positions, walking about without shoes 
or stockings, aad their apparel dripping wet and far 
from tidy, as they had just returned from a pulling 
excursion in a leaky boat. . The next morning I was 
offered an axe to cut down trees, or a ride on the two 
mile road. I preferred the latter, as riding was always 
a favourite amusement of mine ; besides, an old maxim 
had been instilled into me, " never to do hard work 
when you caa find eaey.*' I visited my friends after 
they had been cutting with all their strength for some 
hours, and found they had then almost severed a tree 
of the hardest quality and of gigantic dimensions. 
They were in a melting perspiration, and did not look 
comfortable until they had recruited themselves with 
great quantities of cocoa-nut water. When we sat 
down to breakfast at midday, there were some four or 
five natives around, talking all the while. 

My first visit to Sarawak had been in the year 1844, 
in the " Dido,^' commanded by the Hon. Captain (now 
Admiral) Sir Henry Keppell, who did good service in 
quelling piracy on the coast, and made some inland 
excursions against the Sakarang Dyaks and Malays. 
In one of these expeditions I accompanied, as a small 
midshipman. The war steamer anchored off the 
point on which subsequently I lived for so many 
years. I of course had little idea at that time how 

B 8 


events would resolve themselves, and that my fature 
abode vras to be on those muddy banks abreast of 
where the steamer lay. 

The natives have a clear recollection of those days 
when they say, " The fire-ship came and fired at us, 
and nothing could stand against her." However, 
their remembrance of this does not bear any malice 
with it, and they talk of it now as a matter of 
history, from which they invariably date their epochs 
and periods. The " Dido's *' name and her captain s 
bravery are still vividly known and recoimted in their 

On looking round, I was pleased to see so many 
improvements since the " Dido's *' visit The Eajah's 
house was a capacious bungalow on the left bank of 
the river, with smaller ones attached to either end. 
The former was used as the public apartment, and the 
latter as private sitting and bed rooms. The site was 
picturesquely chosen, and had been occupied by the 
Brunei Eajahs in former times, who had their cemetery 
in the background, with the graves marked by iron- 
wood monuments, and covered at the top with pebbly 

The bungalow was on a low lull, with a small 
stream on each side pouring into the main river. The 
garden around was principally planted with rows of 


betel-nut trees, aaid here and there were straggling 
cocoarnuts. But flowers were scant, excepting some 
fine jessamine bushes on each side of the approach to 
the house. The turf was poor, and much mixed with 
a long, coarse, yellow weed, which is pernicious to the 
growth of any other cultivation, imtil the wiry roots 
are eradicated A short distance below the Bajah's 
bungalow was the dwelling of another European 
gentleman ; and these two were the only residences 
on the left bank. On the opposite side, the Chinese 
^town stood, consisting of a dilapidated row of houses 
by the side of a marshy road ; however, of late years 
the houses have been renewed, as well as the road, 
and much increased in the number of shops and 

The bishop's house stood on a hill at the back, and a 
little further oflf was the church, a pretty building, and 
well adapted for its purposes in this country, both qb 
to size and description of architecture. Mr. Crook- 
shank's villa (since burnt by the Chinese rebels) was 
just completed on an elevation, and there was another 
small cottage, belonging to the Manager of the Borneo 
Company Limited ; and this was all, except a stock- 
aded place called a fort, with guns mounted, com- 
manding a long reach of the river, and a court-house 
on the upper side of the bazaar. Besides these build- 


ings, the Malay villages extended along the rivert 
bank above. I have known strangers admire them, or 
perhaips more particularly the colour, which makes a 
good picture. But my own taste (after European 
beauty and regularity) did not appreciate such simple 
erections ; and strangers or visitors are certain to be 
disappointed when they expect to find any beauty in 
native architecture. 

However, if we turn fix)m the abodes to the grandeur 
of the scenery, with vegetation luxurious to excess, and 
behold the grand mountains which rise some miles at. 
the back of Sarawak, and view the many picturesquely- 
shaped hills situated near, then it is that one cannot 
fail to admire the magnificent natural landscape, the 
peculiarity of which is its ever-changing appearance, 
altanating in colours of radiancy and gloom, as the 
weather varies. A noble mountain, of about 2800 
feet in height, named Matang, stands in the back- 
ground. In consequence of the rarefied state of the 
atmosphere at times, it is so clear and transparent that 
this mountain appears within a mile, showing the 
outline of the jungle trees distinctiy ; at other times, 
its distance looks about ten, which it is in reality. 
In the former instance, depend on it, rain will 
fell within a few hours, accompanied by a brisk 
squall, and in the latter there is none approaching. 


In one case there is a s^perabonniling amoiuKt of 
electricity, in which estate ^ collapee miuBt ensue; in 
the oth^, the elements are equipoised, and objects 
appear in their proper form. In the hot monsoon, 
when the heat is excessive, squalls are nearly of daily 
occurrence, at most times coming on at 2 p.m. They 
are often attended with the most vivid lightning, of a 
very dangerous character, and accidents not unfre- 
quently happen. After these squalls, which seldom 
last more than an hour, the sun again shines foith, and 
in the course of a short time tj^e grouaid is dry, and 
the atmosphere rendered excesavely delightful by the 
cool cleansing and washing it has undergone ; iu'fact, 
it has been filtered of its impurities. These rains 
keep off sickness and oppressive symptoms, which 
in sultry weather attack the head, relax the nerves, 
and weaken the constitution. The '^desiare that many 
of the youthful community rfiow, of proving the 
stability of their skulls by exposure to the sun^s rays, is 
^ sad mistake ; for it ends by a foul oonddtien of the 
liver, as weU as other maladies,* which in most cases 
oblige people speedily to seek shelter in a cooler climate. 
The head is easily guarded, and it should be a man's 
duty to take particular care of this most important 
piece of furniture, the injury of wMch leaves the indi- 
vidual to occupy such a mediocre position among his 


fellow-creatures ; and Heaven knows we all go quick 
enough^ without wantonly laying ourselves open by 
extra exposure to natural evils. No white man's brain 
can undergo the process of being stewed in an oven. 
I have known no cases where people have actually 
fallen by a stroke of the sun, as I believe so often 
takes place in India ; but our sun is as hot as it well 
can be, being in latitude one degree nortL Its ill 
e£fects are proved in other ways^ after some years of 

Acclimatisation never, so far as I have seen or heard, 
permits one to go heedless in this excessive heat ; and 
by a parity of reasoning; no acclimatisation in a cold 
region would permit one to lie down to rest on a 
snowy bed without extra clothing, without sad and 
perhaps deadly effects ensuing. 

The strength of head also considerably depends on 
the state of the stomach, and if the latter be out of 
order — weak j&rom insufficient food, or otherwise-r— 
the brain soon whirls when exposed to the sun's raySy 
the eye glistens, and a man comes to a stop, much 
w;eakened and appetiteless, knowing himself to be 
helpless until he takes rest, and prepares himself more 
efficiently for an undertaking. 

Excitement and energy will effect much, but will 
ML unless due regard be paid to the vulgar region of 


an individual, for in it lies the main stay ; and trebly 
wise was that old German steward who carefully car- 
ried Lord Raglan's luncheon out, amidst derision and 
laughter, on the battle-field in the Crimea. 

After the rainy season we experience the most de- 
lightful weather, as the coolness of the earth produces 
an elastic and exhilarating climate : but the heat of 
the sun is always oppressive, and is only compensated 
by the cool evenings and mornings, which are so truly 
enjoyable, both for the scenery and the renovating effect 
produced on health and spirits. I remember reading, 
a short while since, a work which stated the wet 
season in Borneo to be eight months in every year, 
and describing the saddening effect it must have on 
the feelings of the inhabitants. It cannot be denied 
that rain in abundance does fall here, although not to 
that extent ; but let the most depressed soul behold a 
few evenings of fine weather, with the bright moon, 
and it repays him for a year's gloominess — ^whether 
inconsequence of superexcellent beauty, or by the con- 
trast, I will not venture to specify ; but that it is so 
is certain, for the most grumbling of dispositions 
cannot deny the loveliness of such an evening, with 
pictures such as Turner could only attempt to imi- 
tate. The moon in her [first quarter descending and 
shedding her beams with sparkling radiancy over 


the ripples on the river : the habitations on each 
bank dimly picture indistinct outlines through the 
haze; high mountainB are in the background — dark, 
grand, and dearer^ being more removed fcoln the fog 
•which clings to the earth. Behind the villages are 
hills of various shapes and sizes, with their reflection 
in the river, oontraating with the dark and severer 
material of Mother Earth with her various elevations, 
and ever-abounding phases of change, the outlines of 
which are softened by the haze. On. such a night both 
sights and sounds gladden the heart, for all classes are 
contributing a sympathetic merriness of voice to the 
bright orb. Malay boys pull about, or drift lazily with 
the ride, and strain to emit the hi^est falsetto note, 
regardless of time or tune, for the feeling purely is an 
internal satisfaction, and . not intended to produce 
pleasure to the community. The Chinese and Elings 
all have their different methods of enjoyment on such 
a night ; and if we listen to the a.nimal8 — ^the dogs* are 
bajring with stentorian lungs, cocks crowing, with 
other thousands of chirps and hisses &om the 
smaller specimens of animal life. These are sounds of 
gratitude as well as pleasure, and are consequent to a 
bright moon, a happy country, and a delicious climate, 
the latter contributing the major part towards such 


Most men on their first arrival in the country are 
troubled with the bites of musquitoes^ and other pesti- 
ferous insects, which are often exceedingly poisonous 
and painfhl to new blood fix>m a cold country. And 
if the person be not careful of such wounds, he is likely 
to suffer much inconvBnience, and be laid up by these 
bites ; but a little care in the first instance will gene- 
rally cure such complaints. 

We are not so troubled with flies as in many other 
countries ; but small insects^ sa ants, are innumerable, 
and in shade and damp congregate so as to give great 
annoyance, obliging all articles that have a pleasant 
perfume, to be surrounded by water, in order to keep 
these insects away. These creatures also attack eat- 
ables, and many are swallowed, I believe ; but after 
all, what the eye does not see, the heart does not 
grieve over. 

We have snakes in abundance, and the palsied 
horror that is attached to their name in the imagina- 
tiofi before arriving in these parts, soon vaiiishes after 
being 1nx>ught in contact with them. The species are 
very numerous, each combining certain degrees of 
venom ; but it is my beUef that not more on an 
average than one kind out of ten will cause death, 
and bites from the greater number are scarcely 
attended with any ailment. 


The natives, nevertheless, have considerable fear of 
them ; at the same time they have a superstitious 
dread in hurting some of the most venomous, and 
will allow them to remain unharmed about their pre- 
mises, and even sometimes about their persons. The 
cobra is very gentle and harmless, and will not make 
an attack unless surrounded, or chased without any 
chance of escape. 

I have seen a dog pass its nose along the back of 
one, when the snake quietly crawled away without 
showing angeri and I have known men step over 
them accidentally without their showing signs of 
raising their hoods. In the event of their being 
hurt in any way, they will attempt to bite, but the 
slightest stroke with a stick over their back breaks 
the vertebrae and stops their progress. 

The less venomous are often more inclined to show 
signs of ferocity, and will sometimes make an attack 
on an animal or man. Before I had been three 
months in the country, my servant, while making 
my bed just after I had risen, found coiled away 
under my pillow a small snake, which was afterwardE 
kept in the collection of a friend. It was of a cream 
colour, about three feet in length, and said to be 
venomous. Shortly afterwards, as I was in prepara- 
tion for bathing at the mouth of this river, and sitting 


on a rock, sometMng fell from a lofty tree above my 
head) grazed my arm, and dropped at my feet. It 
proved to be a large snake about six feet long; he 
was somewhat stunned, but recovered in less than a 
minute, and made off. 

On another occasion I found one morning a cobra 
had left his skin hanging on the window-sill of my 
bungalow at Lingga, and of course many of these 
reptiles are met in all places and seasons by any 
traveller in these parts ; I must confess that I cannot 
call to mind any one instance in which their bite 
has caused death, though several cases have come 
under my observation. The natives say that the 
bite of some of the worst would not allow sufficient 
time for a person to' divest himself of his jacket before 
he breathed his last. They consider a beautiful pea- 
green snake the most dangerous, generally about six 
feet long, with a dragon-shaped head, and about four 
inches of the tail resembles a bit of dry stick, hence 
it derives its name " mati puchok,'' or "dead pointed.*' 
The marks by which snakes may be known to be 
venomous are — a flat dragon-shaped head, and more 
particularly a body terminating abruptly, with the 
addition of a small tail : those which gradually 
taper to a fine end are seldom poisonous to any great 


Europeans here frequently suffer from cutaneous 
complaints, which are not in reality serious or per- 
manent, but are exceedingly annoying, and often 
difficult to cure. It is thought that many of these 
maladies will cease when the country is drained and 
cleared of old jungles, the density of which causes a 
continual dampness and malaria about the eartL 
After acclimatisation one loses European complaints, 
to be exchanged for the fever and ague and other 
sicknesses rendering the constitution liable to the 
prevailing epidemics of this country. 

Shortly after arriving in Sarfi,wak, I paid Lundu 
a visit, calling at the different places lying on our 
way. It is nearly fifty. miles distant by water, and 
on our arrival there we took up our quarters in the 
Orang ELaya's •. house, which was in fact a long village 
in itseli^ containing fifty families under one roof. 
Their rooms are all separate in the back partition ; 
the front is open, and used partly as a passage and 
roomy space in which the people of the house receive 
their visitors, and here they sit nearly all day, unless 
liiey are at meal% or sick, when they retire into 
privacy. Their goods are kept inside, and the apart- 
ments are considered sacred to a certain extent, and 
no one but relations or intimate friends would dare 
open the doors. 


We took up ottr quarters under the superintendence 
of the Orang Eaya in the outer part, a portion of which 
he partitioned off with mats, for the purpose of allowing 
us a retreat from the many eyes, and in order to keep 
the dogs away. Before we had been there long, the 
people brought their little presents, and pretty-looking 
laughing damselB were congregated in a dense mass 
around our circle. 

I lounged out to recall some of the scenes which I 
had kept in my memory's store since our last visit, 
now nearly seven* years ago, in the " Samarang's '' 
boats, and I weU recollected the spot where we had 
moored. There also was the identical point off which 
we had, in our monkeyish midshipman's days, been 
swamped; and then again I called to mind the last 
Dyak to whom I remember bowing adieu ; he stood on 
this landing-place, with his handsome face smiling and 
his flowing hair overspreading his shoulders, as he pre- 
sented the Rajah with a white fowl, a peace-offering 
and token of fidelity to him. 

In the evening the Orang Kaya sat near, and con- 
versed, but as yet I could understand only very little 
of what they said, so satisfied myself with using my 
eyes and ears for all going on. 

The next morning we ascended a mountain of be- 
tween two and three thousand feet in height; on its 


side a noble waterfall gushed over large boulders of 
rock, and in one place poured into a basin about thirty 
feet in depth. We rested and bathed here ; the water 
was delightfully cold, almost too much so, for when I 
commenced to walk again, I found the cramp had 
seized my muscles so as to cause me much inconve* 
nience, and only by the greatest exertion could I per- 
suade my legs to extend themselves ; but my walking 
had never been prodigious, and I always preferred 
riding or driving to such a useless amusement. 

The jungle here was grand and •imposing ; some of 
the trees were of gigantic proportions, and the ground 
was open, being free of underwood in consequence of 
the shade from the large trees. In returning home we 
passed through Chinese gardens spreading over many 
hundreds of acres, containing the sweet potato in large 
quantities, with which they supply the coast. A variety 
of vegetables and sugar-cane were growing plentifully, 
and I was struck with delight in witnessing the tasteful 
laying-out of these gardens ; in fact, I believe, so far 
as kitchen-garden produce is concerned, the Chinese 
have a wonderful knack of making the most of a bit of 
groxmd, and of planting it so that the lines shall be 
beautifully brought round the rising curves of undu- 
lating lands. This struck me more particularly, be- 
cause their eyes are so extremely crooked when devis- 


ing house building or wooden architecture. Before 
starting for our walk to the mount, the Orang Eaya 
gave his sons, who were fine handsome young fellows, 
particidar instructions to follow and take every care 
of us. There was a strong superstitious feeling about 
Antus (spirits) frequenting the locality of the waterfall, 
but on the assurance of our possessing powder and shot, 
the old chief seemed satisfied, and permitted his sons, 
as he styled us aU, to proceed. We sat late the 
evening after this walk, and the Oraug Kaya related 
his many adventures with his enemies, particularly 
the Saribus Dyaks, of whom he spoke with the utmost 
contempt and hatred, clenching his teeth and hands, 
with his overhanging brows pinched together, when 
naming them. 

The morning after, we rose early, and proceeded 
about two miles up the river to a landing-place in a 
small branch stream, where there was a single Malay 
house. We stopped here to prepare ourselves for a march^ 
and the owner slowly and shyly showed us civility^ 
but he evidently did not feel at his ease, and was sur- 
prised at seeing Europeans, who, he imagined, had 
come for no good purpose. His little family were play- 
ing about, and more attractive and beautiful children 
it would be difficult to meet in any part of the globe ; 
their bright black eyes were spying at us ; as they 



passed to and fro, their youthfulness prevented irre- 
gular features from being prominently noticed- This 
was a Sambas man, who had removed from the 
Dutch rule in consequence of a war being carried on 
against a Chinese town, named Montrado, where 
the enemy, by all reports, were making a determined 
resistance. This Malay was evidently happy in his 
seclusion, living on what fish he could catch in the 
river, and on a scratch farm of padi, to which the 
female part of his family attended. On starting with ^ 
my companion, I inquired where our path lay, and was 
pointed to a large space of newly felled trees, and 
nothing could be more tmlike a highway or byway. 
We set off, and had to thread our way over log after 
log, lying long and crosswise ; in fact, it was an intro- 
duction to a new .style of walking, resembling tight- 
rope manoeuvring more than any other. Some of these 
trees were six or eight feet above ground, when a fall 
would have proved a serious matter. I soon, however, 
found I was not a worse hand at it than my neigh- 
bours. A steady and cool nerve and eye are required 
for such work. For a few hundred yards of this 
uninteresting labour, we seldom spoke, and could 
never lift the eye away fix)m our steps. 

We then entered the old jungle,, and proceeded at a 
steady four-mile jaunt, conversing on the various 


objects we were passing. So far as I could judge, the 
distance we went was about eight ipiles, through large 
fruit trees nearly the whole way. A small house of a 
Dyak lay before us on a hill, with only the roof dis- 
tinguishable, the lower part being secluded from view 
by betel-nut trees, plantations, and brushwood. As 
we approached this domicile, the old chief came to 
receive us with a smiling amiable countenance ; their 
mats were spread, on which we reclined after having 
enjoyed a bath from a cold mountain stream. This 
is the remains of a very old tribe which numbered 
many thousands in former generations, but now were 
dwindled away to twelve families. The old man, as 
well as his followers, gave us this piteous news with 
tears in their eyes, and recounted the brave deeds of 
their forefathers, who were able to muster many 
hundred fighting men. They told us their women 
refused to fructify, and wished to know what could be 
done to remedy such an evil ; yet there appeared no 
signs of physical decay among them. Few had more 
than one child, and many were barren. We condoled 
with the poor remnants, but our advice of intermixture 
was> I fear, cast to the winds, as it was nearly beyond 
their power' to effect any change. On returning, one 
of our party fell upon a fallen tree and severely bruised 
himself. After this we returned to Sarawak, and I 


found the trip had done me much good^ and felt 
myself fast falling into the manners and customs of 
Europeans in these parts. I never ceased studying 
the language, and for four or five hours daily was 
engaged in learning separate words, which some 
kind friend would hear me repeat ; besides which, I 
carried on imaginary conversations with myself or 
surrounding objects. Grammatical study in such a 
language as Malay is time thrown away, and the best 
plan one can adopt is merely to acquire the phrase- 
ology and tongue, by gaining word for word out of a 
dictionary, and from the mouths of people, and for 
this purpose it is necessary to carry a pocket-book on 
all occasions. 

One day H.M.S- " Conquest," of 12 guns, arrived ; 
commanded by the Hon. Captain Spenser. I believe 
their object was to afford assistance to the Sara- 
wak Government in quelling piracy on the coast. 
There had been a visit to Sakarang and Saribus in 
contemplation for some months; and taking ad- 
vantage of the presence of the man-of-war, the prepa- 
rations for the excursion were immediately set in 
motion. Our two pinnaces were manned, one by the 
man-of-war^s men, and the other by our own people, 
and, accompanied by one of the ship^s boats, we started, 
and arrived at Lingga on the second day. While 


anchored there, some vague reports reached us that the 
station at Sakarang, which is fifty miles up the river, 
commanded by Mr. Brereton, was in an unsettled 
state, in consequence of some refractory natives having 
broken out in rebellion. We pushed on without a 
moment's delay, and found Mr. Brereton fully armed, 
and prepared for all emergencies ; but according to the 
several statements, matters were now quiet, and there 
was no cause for alarm or anxiety. We reached his 
fort at 7 p.m. The building was brilliantly Ughted 
up, and presented more the appearance of a ball-room 
than a fort in the distance. On our landing, bolts, 
gates, and obstacles of various descriptions were re- 
laxed for our admission, and many sentinels with 
rough appearance lined the way with loaded arms. 
Inside, there were long lines of natives, mostly Dyaks, 
looking darker in contrast to the bright lights and 
whitewashed walls. The chief " Grassing ^ came for- 
ward and shook hands with me; and as this old 
gentleman will appear repeatedly in the following 
pages, I will not tire readers now in delineating any 
particulars of him ; but first impressions are always 
valuable, though often incorrect. I admired these 
fellows firom my heart, and sighed for the time when I 
should be better able to know them, and have charge 
of such a district. Brereton's story was as follows : — 


Soihe badly-dispoBed Malays had been trying to lead 
the Dyaks to act against the Govemmenl^ but there 
was a large party aroond him well armed, and the only 
point was to guard against treachery. The day after, 
the inhabitants were assembled, and recommended to 
be more careful, both for the maintenance of the 
Government under which they now live, and for their 
own welfare, as government and subject must live 
or fall together. Some of this party spoke a few 
words, and then they all took leave; 

This place is situated on a dead flat, which is 

covered with water when the rains cause freshes to 


run in the riveh Some distant mountains were in 
sight, but there was not an elevation within many 
miles, and the surrounding country is a deep swamp. 
We remained here only one day, during which we 
lounged about or slept. There is little to be seen, 
except native groups in all directions ; tumble-down 
sheds formed a Chinese bazaar, and the other part of 
the village was inhabited by Malays. Before bidding 
the Dyaks adieu, beads were distributed among the 
ladies, who numbered about thirty, and had come to 
pay their respects. They were very joysome lasses ; 
and on the captain of the man-of-war offering to give 
one (more pretty than the rest) a passage to England, 
she immediately said she was ready to go anywhere 


with him, and to all appearance she would not have 
required much persuasion. The division of beads was 
made fairly between young and old, notwithstanding 
strong predilections in favour of the younger and 
prettier. After which we bid farewell.. Salutes were 
fired, and we shoved off, leaving Mr. Brereton, the 
solitary European, among his half-naked companions. 
The first glimpse of the life was peculiarly attractive 
to me, although I believe most people would have felt 
a horror in the thought of such isolation from theic 

After embarking at Lingga, we proceeded to Sari- 
bus, which is the next river, and after a few hours' 
of the pleasantest sailing by the side of each other, 
smging songs and conversing as each vessel glided 
along with the fresh land breeze, we reached the 
mouth of Saribus, up which we proceeded for forty 
miles, when we arrived at a Malay village. The 
natives recommended placing our vessels on the mud 
bank to be out of reach of the bore, and after 
arranging to do so, the chief sent his sons and people 
to assist us. They were Br fine set of fellows, and 
their athletic and active forms surprised us aU. 
Stripped to short trousras, they plunged through the 
mud above the knee ; carrying long pieces of wood 
down the bank, they arranged them so as to make a 


bridge, on which we might go on shore, and in two 
hours their work was completed. The party had been 
especially merry all the while, throwing at each other, 
and laughing as the most happy of mortals only could. 
They walked in the sloppy mud with the same ease as 
we could trudge on dry land, and no stick seemed too 
small for their sensitive feet and toes to grasp in 
walking. The name of this village was Boling. It 
was situated on a dead swamp, without any appearance 
of dry ground around, and without a drain of any de- 
scription. The principal object of our visit was to 
persuade the population of Malays and Dyaks to make 
peace with the Lingga tribe, and to collect the Malays 
on one locality, instead of allowing them to live 
6cattered about, as they felt inclined. This was in- 
tended as a primary step to leading them to a better 
system of government amongst themselves. In the 
course of the day, the Dy ak chiei^ Orang Kaya Paman- 
cha, came aboard, and having often heard his name as 
being one of the most troublesome of head hunters, I 
was surprised in meeting a very old, decrepit, and 
mutilated man, dressed in the worst habiliments. He 
took a seat on the deck, and remained silently looking 
'lown. His eyesight was nearly gone ; and when told 
that the white man had come to pay him a visit, and 
hoped that his news was good, his only answer — ^which 


he drawled out significantly — was, "Ragus'^ (very 
good). As for making peace, he said he was too 
old, but that he would send some of his younger chiefe 
as his representatives, after farming season. He then 
requested to be allowed to go for heads^ as, he said, his 
wife had lately departed this life, and he was con- 
sequently in mourning, which he wanted to open. On 
this being denied, he turned sullenly round and left. 
Another chief of a tribe near came aboard, named 
Ldngir — a short man, of most perfect sjrmmetry, ser- 
pent-eyed, with the strong savage pictured in his 
physiognomy. While he sat on the deck, I could not 
keep my eye off his countenance, for there was pecu- 
liar character lurking underneath the twinkle of that 
sharp eye — ^avarice, cuiming, foresight, and prudence, 
aU within so small a compass. This man, I was told, 
had attempted to take the Bajah^s life in Sarawak ; but 
the news of his audacious scheme spread its shadow 
before it in time, and he was at the nick of time con- 
fronted by a superior force, before which he and his 
armed party slunk off home again. After meeting the 
Malay chiefs in a hall of audience where many minor 
details were discussed, apparentlt/ in a friendly spirit, 
we left this hotbed of anarchy and bad customs. 

When we had been in Sarawak a few days^ there 
«rose a serious dispute between the up-river Land 


Dyaks and the Chinese gold-worbers, in consequence 
of the former having cut away a gold-working dam 
and let the water out which the Chinese intended 
using to drain the gold from their different ditches 
worked for this purpose. On our arrival at the place, 
we were surprised to find the Orang Kaya with a 
following of more than a hundred armed men, who 
each held a bundle of spears ready for any hostile 
encounter. The business waa discussed, and the Dyaks 
were found to be in fault ; they were accordingly fined 
and cautioned^ and also had to defray damages. 

After these short exeuiBions, we spent many quiet 
weeks in Sar&wak, being only once broken in upon by 
our taking a short trip to Si Munjan, in the Sadong 
district, where we had dome jungle walking in a deep 
swamp, that in many places had roots which were 
running along the sur£sK^, and seemed to form the 
only terra firma. 

•Some parties of Dyaks paid a visit to the senior 
officer, and while squatting down around us, they pre- 
sented some cocoa-nuts, which they requested might be 
spat upon. The ceremony was performed in due form. 
They then carried off the nuts to their farms, cut ihsim 
in pieces^ and scattered them over the ground, to ensure 
a plentiful harvest next year by this appeasal of the 
spirits. One evening whUe riding with my brother, a 


native came hastily up to request our attendance on 
his son, who, he said, was mad. On entering the house, 
we found the young man in his m6ther'8 embrace, 
swooning in a fit, which they thought to be an approach 
to death. His pulse had ahnost gone, and his body as 
cold as any stone. After being there about ten minutes 
he reviTed, and soon entered into conveisation with us ; 
but he looked fiendish, as if something was preying 
upon his mind. This we found to be the case, as some 
gay Lothario had lately robbed him of his intended 
bride. Such causes in most instances lead to the 
Malay amoking (running a-muck). The disposition of 
a Malay broods over such an injury until it suddenly 
unfolds itself in desperate acts. This youth had for- 
tunately kind parents and. relatives who were around 
to ameliorate his grief and watch him. 

November. — I was directed to keep a guard one 
evening on the upper part of the town, to cut off 
all communication with the inhabitants up the 
river. The gold-working Chinese had offered resist- 
ance to a government officer while in the execution 
of his duty in apprehending a criminal among 
their Kousi, or company. The culprit was concealed 
and protected by the principal Chinese in that district, 
who had more than once before been turbulent and 
rebellious. The authorities in Sarilwak now deter- 


mined to punish them with a strong hand, and an extra 
watch was kept in the different ways, and on public 
buildings in Sar&wak, until a force had started up the 
river, the greater part of which were in small canoes. 
And on the following morning we arrived at the 
Chinese landing-place, where previously a few mer- 
cantile men had come for the purpose of warning the 
Chinese of an approaching force, and to recommend 
them to succumb and deliver up the culprit. When first 
receiving intelligence of the prompt proceedings against 
them, the Chinese leaders were prostrated with fear. 
They made their appearance, offering the most humble 
obeisance. The culprit was forthwith given up, and a con- 
ference was held in company with all the principal chie£9^ 
before whom the Chinese were arraigned, and sentenced 
to build a fortification and provide the necessary ex- 
penses of arms, ammunition, and wages of fortmen* 
The first site chosen was a hill overlooking the Com- 
pany's house and works ; but after deliberation the place 
was changed to Berlidah, which commands the river, 
but is distant firom the gold-workers about ten miles. 
These Chinese are strongly armed with abundance of 
munitions of war, which have been steadily accumulat- 
ing for years, their excuse being, that they required 
such an armament to hold their own against Dyaks. 
The fort was to be built on the identical spot which 


the Rajah had attacked on his first arrival in the 
countiy. It was now covered with young jungle, but 
at that time was defended by the Sarawak Malays 
against the Brunei rajahs, who failed to make any 
impression on such a fastness. While clearing the 
ground, we found many holes which had been dug 
after the system of native warfare. These holes are 
scattered in different places around a fortification, 
covered only by small wood as a blind, and on an 
attacking party advancing and stepping into these 
holes, a sharp spear planted at the bottom either 
woimds or kills. 

Besides these, we traced the old embankments, and 
many of our followers now were the principal leaders 
here formerly. They fought their battles over again, 
and the old Tumanggong, as he surveyed the different 
spots, drew his sword, yelled, and gave a few steps of 
his war-dance. The fort was soon completed, and the 
cutting down and clearing around opened a large 
space for musketry to command. The hill was too 
precipitous for an attacking force to attempt to mount 
it, and around its foot wound the river. Upon the 
land side an extra row of palings was erected, and I 
suppose the whole was something of the same kind, 
only not so formidable, as the pahs of New Zealand. 
Gates were hung, with spikes on the outer side, to pull 


up or let down, after which a guard was left, and the 
post was placed under the command of Seriff Moksein. 
When we returned, I was disappointed to find that 
a demand for a hundred stand of muskets of the 
Chinese ofienders was relinquished, for what' need had 
they for such a large number of arms and munitions 
of war ? They cannot again be trusted, as what has 
akeady been attempted — ^it is reasonable to suppose — 
will be attempted again when any other lull or occa- 
sion oflfers itself, and when they are even better pre- 
• pared, as the punishment dealt to them haa in no way 
weakened their power. It is a fault to be too severe ; 
but either the one coiurse or the other should be 
adopted, forgiveness or punishment.* 

December^ 1852. — Our next trip was up. a branch 
of the Sardwak river, nauLed Quop. Our purpose was 
to search £or coal, as some had been reported i^ that 
vicinity ; but after a long walk we only f oimd some 
black stuff which might become coal in future genera- 
tions. Our walk was of the roughest description, and 
the thorns were perplexing, both of various-si^d 
rattans and of a smaller palm. My hands were much 
torn when I arrived at the boat, and as yet I did not 
admire Bomean jungle-trudging, although I ftdly ap- 

* Oopy from journal kept at that time. The remarks are xmusoally 
pxophetio; witness what occnrred in 1857. 


predated the wild and beautiful scenery. We passed 
some Dyak houses, and were followed by a few guides 
who were good specimens of the inhabitants. Their 
akins were about the colour of a new saddle, their 
features not good but pleasing, with raven black hair 
flowing down the back. 

This tribe of Dyaks has suffered much from the 
depredations of the Saribus and Sakarangs. We took 
up our abode for the night in a small Malay hut. 
The inmates did everything in their power to make 
us comfortable; but they were poor, and were em- 
ployed in getting the sweet, aromatic, scented, oily 
Oaru wood, which the natives are very fond of using 
about their persons, and it fetches a good price in the 
market. We passed, in the course of our walk to-day, 
a small plaited basket of viands swinging on a tree, 
containing rice, salt, and other uninviting condiments. 
They were placed there in consequence of a chiefs 
wife being sick, and intended as an appeasal to the 

On our return to Sarawak, we found a boy only 
sixteen years old had amoked in the town. He first 
of all, without any apparent reason, seized a sword 
and sprang on his mother, whom he cut most severely, 
and leaving her for dead, he passed on to three others, 
whom he wounded in various ways^ and then decamped 


88 fast as he could go into tibe jungle. The poor 
mother's life is despaired of. The boy was looked 
on as being half silly for years, but never violent. 
The inhabitants are now all armed, and ready to meet 
him if he appears, when in all probability he will be 
cut down, and nothing more thought of it. 

Janwmfy 1853. — ^After having dispatched my lug- 
gage by one boat, I set off in another to the out- 
station Lundu, to which I was appointed, and now 
had gained a smattering of the language, although I 
had had little practice in speaking ; but two or three 
thousand words were stocked in readiness to provide 
my faculties with a wherewithal to make mjrself 
understood. The Rev. Mr. Gomez accompanied me. 
We had been in the country about the same time, and 
had an equal knowledge of affairs and language. Our 
boat was small, and crowded with boxes, &c. ; but as 
we did not come to Borneo to seek comfort, we thought 
littie of the matter. As we proceeded we found the 
sea to be nmning high, and more than once our boat 
was tracked by her crew, and then only juist kept 
afloat. Our clothes^ &;c., were drenched. I preferred 
walking on the beach with my gun, and at night slept 
on the sands ; but the flies were very annoying, and 
in the morning my skin was puffed and sore. How- 
ever, no discomfort ensued that a cold bath would not 


remedy. The tracks of deer and pigs were numerous 
on the beach, and one evening I strolled out with 
a gun and my companion, more for the sake of amuse- 
ment than with the expectation of killing anything. 
After some time I descried in the dusk an animal 
which I guessed to be a pig, and dropping on my 
knee, fired and brought him down. As he struggled, 
I borrowed my friend's sword, a few cuts from which 
dispatched him. By the dim light he seemed very 
large. In the morning I went out again to look at 
the game, and to my surprise found I had made a 
ridiculous mistake, having cut off his hind quarters 
instead of the head in the dark evening. His tusks 
were a considerable length. This was the first beast 
I had ever killed, and an absurd blunder I had com- 
mifcted in my achievement. 

On arriving at Lundu, I found a small bungalow 
had been prepared for me, containing only one room, 
with a capacious verandali around. The morning was 
beautiful affcer a pouring night, and as I viewed the 
surrounding objects, fresh and sweet-scented, with the 
dew still hanging, I felt as proud as if I had lately 
been elevated to a very lucrative and commanding 
position. The natives immediately flocked around. 
The old chief's sons were sent with a message, to tell 
me that my father would visit his son in the course of 

T0&. I. D 


aai hour ; that he liiought his son might be tired and 
would require rest before receiving visitors. My 
future brothers, Langi and Gali, retired, conveying my 
thanks to the thoughtful old chief. Not a bad 
message, I thought to myself, from a Dyak who is 
looked on as a savage, and an untutored barbarian. 

My sensations were strangely novel. A feeling of 
immense elation ran through my mind as I inhaled 
the fresh atmosphere, and gazed on the grand moun- 
tains with their falls and primitive jungles, already my 
delight. After an hour's soliloquy when reclining, though 
far from sleepiug, the old chief made his appearance. 
His entry was charming, for kindness snuled upon his 
stem old features, and as he clasped my hand he 
exclaimed, "Oh I your father is very joyful to see 
you, but your house is not yet finished, and badly 
built; your father, however, did his best with lazy 
workmen who would not listen to his directions/' 
I found it a grand trial of the language, this first debui, 
and although the 2000 words sprouted rather slug- 
gishly, yet I was able to make myself imderstood. 
But words would only find utterance for a short time, 
and I soon became tired, so I allowed the Dyaks to 
run on at their pleasure, and did my best to listen and 
comprehend all they said. The chiefs proposed to call 
out all their followers, for the purpose of clearing the 


jungles arouiid my abode, so that I irflght have an 
extensive garden; and then they advised that the 
Chinamen should be ordered to turn up the ground 
firee of expense. They oflFered also to provide me with 
rice and fowls for some months, as I ought not, they 
said, to purchase anything at first, but to live on 
their hospitality. However, I declined receiving any 
of these kindnesses ; they nevertheless for several days 
showered presents on me, and every morning the old 
chief sent rice and other things. I soon found out the 
old gentleman had a taste for strong liquors, and one 
evening, when many were present and drinking, after 
the second glass, he called me a diamond, or jewel, 
which he should keep on the top of his head, and then 
shook me by the hand, saying, "Your father feels so 
very drunk, he must go home." His wife, as well as 
the other community of females, came to visit me 
often, each bringing her small quota of presents, until 
I felt sometimes disinclined to receive things for which 
I made no return. They were mostly pleasing and 
laughing wenches, without any extra burden of beauty 
or ugliness. My garden, on clearance, aflForded me an 
immediate occupation, and every fresh fathom created 
new interests in my mind. The sad news of the death 
of poor Lee soon reached me, while living in the most 
calm, quiet state of peace and security in this delight- 

9 2 


ful of all abodes (Lundu). As the deplorable event 
which deprived us of this amiable and most excellent 
officer may illustrate life in Sarawak, I shall venture 
to relate it more in detail. 

Rentap, the redoubtable Dyak chief, had threatened 
repeatedly to attack Mr. Brereton's fort, and in con- 
sequence, a small look-out stockade had been placed a 
few miles above the fort at Sakarang. Mr. Lee had 
lived for some years as the co-operator and companion 
of Mr. Brereton in Sakarang, and now had been 
appointed to a separate station at Lingga, which was 
a branch of the same river as Sakarang, ie., Batang 
Lupar. Reports had been brought to Sakarang, that 
Rentap was in his war boat for the purpose of making 
an attack, and Mr. Brereton sent down a hasty note to 
Lee, asking him to come up and assist with his Lingga 
force. Lee attended to his request without due 
preparation, and the Dyaks accompanied him in their 
small boats, without proper armament, or the general 
paraphernalia of even Dyak warfare. No dream had 
been interpreted, no bird been listened to, or any other 
important basis for Dyak mental phenomena to rest 
and act on. 

They left Sakarang fort-, and arrived at this stock- 
ade, knowing that the enemy were in force a reach or 
two above them. After day had well opened, a few 


of the enem/s boats made their appearance round a 
point ; the big gun was fired fix>m the stockade, the 
shot scattered about the enemy's force, which imme- 
diately turned round and made oflF, appearing to be in 
full retreat Mr. Brereton's force followed helter 
skelter after them, and when rounding the point, were 
encountered by Eentap's heavy boats pouncing on 
them with a strong ebb tide in their favour. The 
consequence was that boat after boat was swamped, 
one of which was Mr. Brereton's ; he with difficulty- 
gained the bank, and was saved only by the assistance 
of his Malay party. Lee dashed gallantly on, spuming 
the idea of turning round, although he was begged to 
do so by his native crew, who too well knew that there 
was little hope of any success with such odds against 
them. Lee called out, "Save yourselves; I must 
stand;'' the consequence was, his boat was boarded 
by the enemy ; his crew stood by him as long as they 
could with any degree of hope, then jumped for the 
bank, which they reached. But poor Lee fought 
doggedly, first of all with his rifle, and then drawing his 
scimitar, he slashed right and left, untU overpowered, 
when his head was nearly severed from his shoulders ; 
he fell overboard and sank. His sword, which is now 
in my possession, was afterwards picked up. The 
enemy fortimately did not obtain his head, and they 


can only boast of having that of one white man^ a 
gentleman who was killed a short distance above this 
very place while accompanying the " Dido's ^ expedi- 
tion. They had been entrapped by a crafty stratagem 
of Dyak warfare, which consists in sending a few smaU 
boats to appear in view of the enemy for the purpose 
of enticing their opponents to a position in which they 
might be taken at a disadvantage. The same thing 
had happened in the previous case : when pushing on 
too vigorously, our men met large boats lying in ambush 
awaiting their arrival at a certain point, when a 
similar attack was made with like disaster, and eighteen 
men were killed. One only of the boat's crew survived 
to tell the tale, and he was covered with spear wounds- 
We received orders from Sar&wak to prepare bpats for 
an attack which was to be made in the course of this 
year. I persuaded the Lundu chief to set to work at 
once in building boats, and ere many days a large 
tree was feUed, half of which was for the keel of their 
own boat, and half for mine ; the length was 60 feet 
Malay boat-builders were hired, and I paid particular 
attention to the way the planking was put together ; 
fixtures were made with wooden spikes instead of naoLa, 
and as for their implements, although of the roughest 
description to a stranger's eye, was surprising 
how quickly they were capable of reducing a rough log 


into a piece of planking. Before the Orang Kaya 
commenced his boat, many plates and dishes were 
carefully laden with rice and other eatables ; sirih 
and pinang (betel) were also placed, so that .the spirits 
could partake of these luxuries and satisfy themselves. 
Besides this, to the people congregated around the 
place where the boat was about to be built, arack was 
served out, of which they all sipped with the utmost 
gravity, and the few words that were spoken referred 
to their enemies, the Sakarangs and Saribus, . upon 
whom theii; whole attention was evidently con- 

I was hunting a short while since when my dogs 
killed two large pigs ; I was only present at the death 
of one, and then after having nearly all my clothes 
torn off by thorns while crawling through the low 
brushwood. These animals. are large, and fat in the 
fruit season, and the Dyaks who followed eagerly cut 
up the flesh and took it home. 

My cook was a Mahomedan, so could not handle the 
imclean blood. It is a disgusting animal, say what 
Christians may on the subject. Can such an oleagi- 
nous substance possibly be wholesome 1 

I had been attempting to go without wine, tea, 
sugar, or any other superfluous et ceteras, but after 
three weeks of this abstinence I found that my John 


Bull constitution and luxurious propensities suffered 
much^ and while attempting to climb a mountain I 
was obliged to rest repeatedly for want of strength 
and breath. While lounging in the shade of a large 
tree, with my athletic followers who were taking com- 
passion on me, I tried to point out the beauties of 
the surrounding scenery, even the power displayed 
in the fabric of a leaf, but found my audience 
could not, or would not, comprehend the poetical 

One evening the old Pang-lima (warrior) of the place 
sat late with me, relating many marvellous anecdotes, 
and his appearance denoted great peculiarities, a smil- 
ing and jocose eye, with a strange style of spluttering 
forth his words out of a large pair of protruding 

He was very talkative. Among other things, he 
told me that many years ago a party of Sibuy^u 
Dyaks, mostly his own near relations, and all known 
to him, were walking in the jungle, when one man, 
to their sudden surprise, ran to a distance from the 
rest, as if he had been seized by the spirits ; he climbed 
a tree and remained in the woods, while his com- 
panions returned home. After the man had been 
absent several years, living as an Antu, he returned 
to his family, covered with hair like an orang-outan. 


After some months the hair fell oflF, and he became 
like the others again. This was narrated with a serious 
and grave face, and he likewise assured me he knew 
the man in question. 

These people are really truthful, and their in- 
credible stories, which are brought vividly to their 
minds in dreams^ are actually credited as having taken 
place. The Malays of a superior class are likewise 
most absurdly superstitious: and only yesterday, an 
elderly Hadji requested me to shoot a particular kind 
of black bird, as he wished to fix its feet and head 
against his doorway, to appease any spirits that might 
bring sickness on his threshold. 

April, — I was now appointed to the Lingga station 
to take the. late Mr. Lee's place: this was a more 
important place, and required considerable vigilance 
to keep the Saribus head hunters at a respectable 

I was sorry to leave Lundu and its inhabitants, with 
whom I had formed many attachments. I spent two 
months in Sar&wak before matters were arranged for 
my departure for lingga. There was one report of a 
Saribus fleet being out on a piratical cruise, mustering 
forty boats strong, and we started fully manned and 
armed, but found not a trace of an enemy, nor had 
the inhabitants on the coast seen or heard anything of 


them. Such reports seem to be of usual occurrence in 
the vivid imagination of these Easterns — 

" How easy to suppose a bush a bear." 

An unfortunate accident happened at this time. A 
Malay woman of a village in Sarawak, while bathing 
her child at the landing-place, in daylight, before the 
eyes of her husband, who was standing on the bank 
within a few yards of her, was seized by a huge alii- 
• gator, and carried away into the river. The poor man 
jumped after his wife, and actually touched the alli- 
gator, but it was hopeless his attempting to rescue the 
victim. A few moments afterwards, the monster rose 
to the surface, and swinging his prey over his head 
above the water, he in this manner exultingly swam 
in front of all the houses in the village. The unfor- 
tunate woman was then still alive, and her cries were 
piercingly audible. 


Chart — Vocabulary — Position — Boimdaries — ^Malays — ^Land Dyaks--^ 
Derivation of word — ^Localityr-Hindooism — Sea Dyaks— Number 
— Localities — Languages — Customs— Theories — Origins— Dyak 
religion — Code— Omens — Future state — Suicide — Instances — 
Maladies— Longeyity-— Calculation of time — Padi farming — Crops 
— Administration of justice— Albinoee, Slenangs, or soothsayers 
— ^Epithets of surprise — ^Extraordinary practices — Maias, their 
instinct— Fallacious ideas-^What occasioned by— Dimensions of 
Maias — ^Female characteristics— Appearance, behaviour, &o. — 
Jealousy — Fourth division — Malanau-^ Localities — Names of 
branches — ^Practices — ^Human sacrifice — Character — Cannibalism 
— Cure of sick — Absurd ceremony — ^Burials*— Provision for Ititure 
life — Lihabilants — From whence arrived— Suppositions — ^Position 
of country — China — Ghradual change — ^Articles of value — General 
migiatioii from the north— The Chinese— Their qualities-* 

I HAVE attached a bircPs-eye-'Vtew chart to this 
chapter, delineating, so far as one was able with only 
a pocket compass, the directions of the many rivers 
in Sar&wak territory, and showing the relative bearing 
of each in the interior. There is little doubt that all 
the heads of the main trunks are directed towards the 
centre of the island. This leads one to infer that 
there must be some mountains in the interior of con- 


siderable height, although the great amount of rain 
so continually falling in these latitudes, will almost 
account for the numerous rivers and streams in every 
direction. There are inhabitants to be found through- 
out the island, but many of the villages are far distant 
fix>m each other. Intercourse is held among them- 
selves, and they rely on no exterior commodities, their 
wants being singularly simple. 

The territory of Sarawak comprises two hundred 
and twenty miles of sea coast in a straight line facing 
the north-west, and its depth inland extends from 
eighty to one hundred miles. The Brunei territory 
borders it on the east, and the Dutch possessions are 
to the southward and westward. The boundaries 
inland are the sources of the tributaries to the Eapuas 
river ; and again, further to the eastward and centre 
of the island, axe found the heads of the Banger Masin 
and Kotei rivers, which have their outlets on the 
south and south-eart side of the island. The tribes 
and branch tribes are very numerous, and a rough 
estimate from 200,000 to 300,000 souk is the nearest 
approximation I will venture on, for the communication 
is difficult even on the coast section, and many of the 
inland branch tribes are as yet only known by name. 
The general plan of estimating the number is by allow- 
ing four or five to each door of a long house, the 


lesser to the oppressed, and the greater number to the 
wealthy and prosperous localities. 

The first Divisum,^ and most civilised, are the 
Malajrs who are Mahomedans^ and occupy habitations 
on the coast, and have for a length of time supplied 
the inland population with salt and other necessaries, 
making fabulous profits on such articles. It seems 
evident these people have come fix)m Sumatra or the 
Malayan Peninsula ; but since their arrival they have 
been mixed with the Dyak and Malanau populations, 
adopting many of their customs and much of their 
language, but they have always borne the name of 
Mahomedans, and their court language is the same 
as spoken in Sumatra, with very few exceptions. It 
has often been compared to Italian in its sweetness of 
soimd, and has some peculiarities besides strangely 
bearing an affinity to it ; for instance, a Malay will 
aak pardon when he lifts the ends of his trousers to 
show a bruise on his legs, or give you a "salaam^' on 
naming his arm or knee. The Italians also have a 

* \ti Division, — ^Malays. 

2nd Division. — Land Dyaks. BrancheB : Saramban, Singgei, Senta, 
Salakau, Lara, Bukar, Engkroli, Engrat, Milikin, Sow. 

Srd Division. — Sea Dyaks, Branches : Ballaus, Sibuyau, Sakarang, 
Saribns, XJndnp, Batang Ayer, Lamanak, Bagan, Kanta. 

Ath Division* — ^Malanau tribe. Branches : Mattu, Eejang, Mukah, 
Eayan, Bakatan, Maloh, TTkit, Ponan, Skapan, Eanowit 


similax method of apology when mentioning their feet 
or foot gear, and utter a prepaj^atory expression of 
" saving your presence/' or, " with all respect,"* before 
talking of such vulgar parts. The manner too of 
asking some questions, and answering, in exactly the 
same words, the difference being only regulated by 
the intonation of the voice, is similax. 

Second Bwisixm — Land Dyaks. — ^The generic term 
Dyak (or properly called Dya by themselves) in many 
dialects simply means inland, although among many 
of the branch tribes the term is not known as being 
referable to themselves, further than in its signification 
as a word in their language. Some of the interior 
populations, even as fax off as Brunei, are called Ka- 
daya-n. Then again, the Mattu or Malanau name for 
inland is Kadaya^ although the generic term applied 
to themselves is "Malanau," the origin of which is 
unknown. Again, the name of the numerous tribes 
situated far in the interior of Rejang, although a dis- 
tant branch of the Malanau tribe, are called "Kayan," 
and our own more immediate people "Daya," or as 
more generally known Dyak. The land Dyaks' word 
for inland is Kadayo. 
After these few vague preliminary remarks, on 

• Mrs. Gxetton'a lialy. 


which the more scientific may enlarge, I will proceed 
to give some description of their habits, which are 
more immediately under our observation. The land 
Dyaks — so named by Europeans in consequence of 
not being accustomed to go to sea^ either for trading 
or piratical purposes — ^number some forty branch tribes, 
with great variations in language, and it would be 
now almost impossible to find the main or principal 
stock, unless it can be traced- back to the Malay or 
Javanese tongues. They occupy localities up the 
rivers Sadong, Samarakan, Sardwak, and Limdu, and 
it is my belief have migrated firom the lower section 
of the Kapuas, marked red on the map. The remains 
of Hindooism found among them, such as stone-shaped 
bulls and other stone utensils ; the refusal among them 
to touch the flesh of cattie and deer, and so particular are 
they, that they will fine a man for even spilling the 
blood of these animals on their premises ; the name 
of their deity being Juwata — these testifying points 
support a fair conjecture that they must have gained a 
vague notion of Hindoo worship from people coming 
into the Kapuas river from the island of Java, which 
is only distant from some of the outstretching points 
of Borneo two hundred miles, and fair winds generally 
prevail between. 

The Hindoo religion was the prevailing belief in 


Java four hundred years ago, and even the Sarawak 
MalayB of the present generation can recollect the time 
when it was usually said in conversation, in reference 
to distant bygone dates, " In the days of the Hindoos," 
which expression has become extinct, as the Mahome- 
dans of late years have been in the habit of going 
hadji to Mecca^ and are now able to use the dates of 
the Hegira. 

The inland populations in and about this division 
of Borneo are eastward and northward bound, fre- 
quently migrating in search for fresh farming lands, 
about which they continually quarrel, and in con- 
sequence disperse, forming a new nucleus for a branch 

Their customs and appearance differ considerably 
from the other tribes, and do not encourage so great 
an interest in a traveller's breast as the sea Dyaks, 
who are a fairer and finer people in every way. There 
are many wild traditions to be gathered among these 
people. Mention is made of their forefathers having 
come, or been brought, in a large ship from the north- 
ward, and the conjectural surmise is that the country 
they allude to must either be Cochin-China or Siam. 
The population in the whole of this section does not 
exceed 40,000 souls, and among their present habitats 
the remains of former villages possessing inhabitants 


of a far higher state of civilisation are frequently being 
found. Several have been dug up since the publishing 
of Mr. Spencer St John's book, which mentions a few 
i^enmants found in the Sardwak district. Other re- 
mains, far distant, have been brought to light, with 
some of the gold ornaments, seven feet under ground, 
as well as many articles of crockery and other utensils. 
These articles being found much further in the in- 
terior, gives the subject additional interest. The depth 
under ground will probably be accounted for by the 
gradual increase of soil, which is so often being washed 
down in the freshes. 

Third Divisum—Sea DyaJcs. — The Sea Dyaks 
occupy the centre of the Sardwak territory, numbering 
from one hundred to one hundred and twenty thousand 
souls, and have arrivfed from the centre section,, 
marked green on the map, of the Kapuas river. I 
will not attempt to trace their previous localities 
on this island further than that region. The branch 
tribes are numerous, named after their diflTerent 
countries, Sibuyau, Lingga, Undup, Sakarang, Saribus,. 
and Ulu Ayer, or Upper Water. The latter live in 
the vicinity of the Eayans and Malohs, to whom 
they bear some resemblance ; but more of them in the 
fourth division. The Sea Dyaks have been the prin- 
cipal head hunting heroes, and are by far the most 

TOL. X. M 


active and energetic of all the inhabitants in the 
Sardwak territory, Th,eir language bears a strong 
resemblance to the Malayan tongue, and I have fre- 
quently found words from Marsden's Dictionary used 
in familiar conversation among themselves, and yet 
unknown to the Malays on the coast. 

It may be safely concluded that Malay words are 
interspersed among all their languages ; but with 
some branches much more so than others. It cannot 
be denied also, that there are. some of their practices 
much in advance of the appearance they present as a 
race ; gleams of sunshine showing through a cloudy 
atmosphere. For instance, — their forges, and ability 
to manufacture weapons for warfare, are of very 
superior quality ; and some tribes in the interior of 
Bejang are even able to smelt their own iron, which 
is second to no other for making arms. We find the 
curious complex manufacture of short swords, pos- 
sessing concave and convex blades, which are capable, 
by this means, of penetrating either wood or flesh to a 
surprising extent; but much practice is required to 
use them properly, as a mistake in the angle of 
cutting, would bring the weapon roimd and often 
wound the holder. There is a method not less 
intricate used by the Saribus and Sakarang Dyaks 
for obtaining fire, which is peculiarly artistic, and 


from what direction such a practice could have 
been inherited is beyond my ken. The inatrument is 
a small metal tube, about three inches long^ closed 
at one end, with a separate piston, the bottom of 
which fits closely into the tube, and when some dried 
stuff answering the purpose of tinder is introduced, 
and the piston slapped suddenly down, the head of 
it being held in the palm of the hand, in order to 
withdraw it as quickly as possible with a jerk, fire 
is by this means communicated to the tinder in the 
tube. The Dyaks call the instrument " besi apL'^ 

I have one in my possession, but have never been 
successful in obtaining a light with it. These practices 
are hot named as being in any way wonderful in 
themselves, or new to science, as anyone probably 
knows that sudden exhaustion of air produces fire, 
and would be able to give a lecture on the minutiaB 
of the proceeding. But the strange and unaccountable 
question is, how such customs were first introduced 
amongst so primitive a race as is to be found in ik&se 
hnda, who even eat with their fingers^ and possess 
other habits which give them the name of demoniacal 
cufr-throats. They are far superior to the New 
Zealanders in many useful accomplishments ; and a 
question often arises in the mind, whether it be the 
dusky remains of olden civilisation, or the dawning of 



day, consequent on an improving and progressing state 
of spontaneous development. 

If I were to reason on the subject, the facts pro- 
duced would tend to support the previous idea> 
namely, that these tribes are the offshoots of more 
civilised peoples, and have inherited customs fix)m 
their forefsithers, most of which are now forgotten ; 
the useful manufacture of weapons and implements 
for their own employments remaining still known to 
them. My feeling of interest, however, in these 
dusky gentlemen overcomes dry impleasant facts, as 
it is &r more gratifying in every way to entertain a 
notion (although perhaps a wrong one), that for their 
own necessities, and by their own industry, they have 
awakened practices so needful to themselves. The 
New Zealanders had no more than sharp stones for 
axes in the beginning of the last centuiy, while these 
Dyaks have constructed numerous and complicated 
instruments for a considerable period. Both of these 
theories support the Christian and Darwinian teaching, 
as neither allows that people can come into spontaneous 
existence, but maintains that they are developed from 
first parents, or previous causes. The orthodox one 
being mystified in the fabulous legend of Adam and 
Eve or the Mosaic cosmogony, and that of Mr. Dar- 
win's theory, may be carried back through innumerable 


ages, and perhaps varieties, when the parentage might 
be deduced by retrogressive steps through regular 
stages of dismemberment. But origins of languages 
and peoples seem ever clouded with endless mystery, 
and are as difficult to find as the real origin of 
everything else on the earth's surfSeu^e. 

Whether we follow the orthodox Christian teaching 
of Divine interposition to account for things which 
the human reason cannot unravel sufficiently for 
beliei^ or whether we receive Darwin's hypothesis of 
a few parent stocks, to account for the life of the 
animal and physical kingdom, one is as darkly clouded 
and fraught with difficulties as the other at the 
present time ; but the latter hypothesis offers us this 
advantage, that it awakens faculties, to observe, to 
inquire, and to gain and hold to the several straws on 
the path of knowledge; whereas the other permits 
our minds to sleep with a consolatory faith, trust, and 
satisfaction, that we are in existence, and it Little 
matters how we came, except that we are sent by an 
Almighty Power to do good in this our habitation. 

On the subject of the oral superstition or religion 
of the Dyaks, the forms have already been mentioned 
in Mr. St. John's work. There is no doubt they have 
a regular hierarchy of beings, to each of whom are 
attached different attributes. There is, in the first 


place, the Almighty and Omnipotent — ^incomprehen- 
sible and miapproachable. Next to him is a prophet, 
or at all events a supematmral being, of ertraordinary 
power and ability — a vicegerent on earth, and admi- 
nistrator of human aflfairs— an example to be brave 
and just. And besides this being, there are minor 
ones, each diflfering slightly" from the other. Some are 
married, whose wives are surpassingly beautiful ; and 
others, again, are prolific in the extreme, being capable 
of peopling the earth with wonderful alacrity. Then, 
again, we find the good genii, and evil spirits of 
strongly-marked characters, which are vividly set 
forth to the rising generation. 

The interminable lofty jungles of these countries, 
the solitary grandeur and awe which must invest the 
most unimaginative mind while living or wandering 
through them; fi^quent sudden storms, accompanied by 
appalling thunder and lightning, doubtless considerably 
enhance the tendency of a people to entertain super- 
stitious ideas. However, the Dyak inhabitants, 
attached as they may be to older modes, are too 
inquisitive and fond of gain to remain long in a dark 
state, if a better and clearer light be set before them, 
as their minds and temper are pliable and amiable, 
and not too inert to adopt fresh and improved prac- 
tices. These Dyaks have a distinct notion of a future 


state, which is often mentioned in their conversation. 
There are diflFerent stages before reaching it — some 
agreeable, and others the contrary — ^and their final 
abode, or as it appears dissolution, is a state of dew. 
Their burial rites all tend to support the idea of a 
future state ; but oral traditions being so liable to 
alteration, there is now no very clearly defined account, 
as different people give different statements, but never- 
theless agree in the main points, and fully expect to 
meet each other after deatL Their feeling is not 
fanatic or fatalistic, as in Mahomedans, and they have 
a sound appreciation erf- the blessings of this life. I 
have never yet known a case of a Dyak amoking, yet 
it was of frequent occurrence among Malays in fom;ier 
times. Wise laws and severe punishments have to a 
great extent curbed this imruly caprice, which evinces 
the keenest sensibility of the nervous system, and 
the weakest amount of moral power and courage in 
counteracting its influence. But Dyaks not unusually, 
under great disgrace, or after having acted so as to 
incur the anger of their parents, resort to a poisonous 
root, and commit suicide. Frequent cases have come 
under my observation; two of these I proceed to 
relate, both having happened since my residence in 
the country. 

A Dyak family residing on one of the tributaries to 


the Rejang river, was particularly badly off for padi, 
a failure in the crop nearly reducing them to a starving 
condition. The father, on seeing his children and wife 
gradually weakening for want of sufl&cient nourish- 
ment, drew his parang (sword), killed them all, and 
then stabbed himself. 

The other case happened not long afterwards in 
the same tribe. A man had complained to his wife of 
her laziness in attending to her household duties and 
fJEuming, accompanying his speech with such epithets 
as a lazy slut, or good-for-nothing woman. Shortly 
afterwards, on the same day, she left the house, plucked 
a bit of the tubar root, sat down under the shade of 
the old jungle, where she devoured it, and was found 
dead shordy afterwards. The husband bitterly re- 
pented his untimely iUM3Usation, and was fined by the 
chief of the tribe about six pounds for ill-treatment to 
his wife, and being the cause of her death. 

The Malays seldom or never commit self-murder, and 
look on the Dyaks with considerable contempt; but 
the former will amok, and cut their neighbours down 
in their hallucination. This difference between the 
Dyak and Malay may be traced further, and perhaps 
be attributed to the social system, which is so radically 
bad with the latter. There is little trust and love 
between the inmates of one house and another, petty 


jealousies being carried to a frightful pitch of virulence ; 
whereas Dyaks live in long houses, and are a sociable 
and amiable community, with strong mutual attach* 

These people have the curse of many fearful maladies 
among them ; that of scrofula is marked, but is not 
perhaps so frequent as among the savage tribes of 
other countries. Consimiption is not uncommon, and 
children are especially subject 'to it, often with fatal 
consequences. Ophthalmia, at certain seasons, attacks 
whole tribes, and when neglected, deprives many of 
sight, but, taken in the first instance, yields to the 
mildest remedies. It is at the time of weeding the 
padi farms in September and October that people 
principally suffer fix)m this complaint. 

Another disease conmion to all these inhabitants is 
a gradual falling away of flesh and general debility, 
which invariably (although in many instances after a 
considerable time) ends in death. I have attended 
many poor fellows in this malady, and could never 
administer any complete remedy for it. Elephantiasis 
is also common on the coast, particularly in the low 
countries; even many Europeans (myself among the 
number), who have exposed themselves to malarian 
jungles, have been attacked with it. It commences 
by a pain in the groin, with light fever, gradually 


drawing towards the lymphatic veins of the legi and 
is exceedingly painfol for some days; in some con- 
stitutions it flies to the foot> and leaves an enlarged 
leg for life, but on the greater number the swelling 
decreases after the fever has left the system. 

In my opinion, an erroneous idea is generally enter- 
tained among these Dyak races respecting both length 
of Hfe and capalrility of bearing children. K allow- 
ances be made for their not having the advantage of 
medical skill, there wotdd, I believe, be found almost 
as great a longevity and fruitfulness as in England. 
It is not an uncommon occurrence to meet women 
without a grey hair on their head, who have borne 
their seven and sometimes nine children, the eldest of 
whom may have reached a marriageable age. Four 
generations are often alive at the same time. Natives 
sometimes look old when they are only twenty-five 
years of age, but do not alter afterwards until they 
are far advanced. Whether a man be thirty or sixty 
is difficult to guess. Calculations of age are generally 
computed by the increased size of trees, or by certain 
events, particularly the attacks made upon their 
country. Short distances are described by arriving 
at such a place before the hair has had time to dry, 
or by the time for cooking one, two, or three pots 
of rice, as the distance may happen to be. Some- 


times they explain lapse of time by the height of 
the sun. 

The Dyaks have no correct calculation of year, 
beyond what they call their padi year. They are 
guided in the planting season by certain stars, and 
wait for the Pleiades group to be a certain height 
above the horizon before daylight. This denotes the 
sowing time ; after which they are guided by the size 
of the young padi, which has to be weeded and trans- 
planted, and bears fruit in eight months in the low 
grounds, and seven on the hills. The latter is of infe- 
rior qualily, but as it does not require replanting, the 
Dyaks generally obtain a larger quantity of it, which 
generally repays them for deficiency in quality. They 
reap by means of a bit of sharpened steel, which is 
attached to their fingers, and in grasping a handful of 
heads of the padi, the steel cuts through them ; but it 
is a slow process. The fruit is taken home, and after 
being dried, is stored in different-sized troughs of bark, 
which are sewn together, and form strong, endurable 
cases. The only means of computing the quantity of 
padi for sale, is by naming the size round of one of 
these troughs. 

The harvests vary very much in the quantity pro- 
duced. A failure in the burning of the old jungle, 
owing to too much wet, or want of sun in the ripening 


season, to injures the crop as to put the inhabitants to 
great straits to obtain means of maintaining life. 
Vegetables are not in abundance, except those growing 
wild in the jungles. The feeding on unripe cucumbers 
or other foods of the kind, occasions much sickness. 
An apparent provision of nature, however, much assists 
the inhabitants, as the causes which produce bad crops 
of padi seem to favour the various fruits of the country, 
and thus are the people afforded means of living. 

Then, the luscious durean, with its odoriferous per- 
fume, is a great benefit, although its heating propensity 
causes light fevers to be prevalent. These ignorant 
people of course look upon the incident as a special 
intervention and compensation of their Gk)d (Bertara). 

The administration of law among themselves sup- 
plies many admirable precedents. Unfortunately, their 
ties of relationship and want of substantial principle, 
are impediments to the carrying out of justice ; at the 
same time, they are peculiarly alive to the advantages 
of a just administration, which never fails to secure 
the aid and support of the majority. 

In the event of one tribe commencing war upon 
another, by killing without provocation, the aggressor 
would incur a " hukum mungkal,** or fine of 75?., ac- 
cording to custom. In cases of adultery, the husband 
or wife in fault is liable to be beaten with sticks by 


the aggrieved parties, on the open ground, aa their 
houses are held sacred. Their system of justice in this 
case is of a very beneficial character, as the female 
suffers alike with the male. Petty cases of theft are 
punished lightly, as well as all other trivial cases, but 
nobody is allowed to molest his neighbour without 
incurring a fine. For instance, if a party of people 
should ever damage the drinking or bathing well of 
another house, or hack at the sticks on the landing- 
place, they would be mulcted. In quarrels about land, 
they are supposed only to use sticks, and they fall to in 
earnest : the most pugnacious keep very barbarous 
spiked and thorny ones for the express purpose, and 
many use bark hats and jackets to ward off the blows 
of these implements. 

Cases of premeditated murder are very unusual 
among them, although at one time the attack of one 
party on another was often attended by deatL A few 
examples of heavy fines, inflicted with a strong hand, 
have greatly decreased this evil. 

A chief leading such a party is, in most cases, a 
man of property, and in the event of one of his 
followers being killed, he pays a jar worth 91. to the 
deceased's parents, or nearest relations. 

Their "menango," or soothsayers, bear a resem- 
blance to the gree grees, or m^ndas, mentioned in Du 


Chaillu's work. They are supposed to cure the sick 
by dealing with mysterious agencies ; but the Dyaks 
are now becoming less confident of the efficacy of 
such practices, and are glad to obtain European 
mediciaes and attendance. 

Their superstitious dread of eating certain animals 
is a point of resemblance between them and the 
inhabitaats of the west coast of Africa ; the reason 
being, they suppose these animals bear a proximity to 
some of their forefathers, who were begotten by them, 
or begot them. 

Albinoes are found amongst them, and are sad 
objects, though the natives are fond of such mon- 
strosities; to a white man their appearance is a 
most distressing sight. They answer exactly the 
description given by Burton and other travellers in 
different parts^ They do not, however, appear to be 
so deficient in physical as mental capacity. The 
weakness of their eyes produces a nervous trembling, 
as if the pupil could not bear the light — ^the colour is 
of a faint pinkish tinge. 

Epithets of surprise are often "Apai Indai,** or 
" Aki Indai,'' '' Faiher and Tnoiherl' or " Oh, mother!" 
This expression seems very universal, for even 
Europeans appeal to their grandmothers in cases of 
distress or perplexity. 


In many cases of sickness and death, on inquiring 
the cause, they reply, "Pansa antu," or " A spirit has 
paased/' This may be otherwise interpreted " He 
possesses a devil." 

The extraordinary custom of hanging rags on trees 
by the roadside, by every passer by, and the practice 
of heaping stones in recollection of some past 
event, are found here also. But I have only heard of 
one instance of the former, and on making inquiries, 
found it of the same curious character as mentioned 
by travellers in Madagascar, Ireland, and Africa. I 
believe it to be the remnant of some ancient idolatrous 
worship, which appears to have been almost universal 
in its practice, and now only the hollow letter re- 
mains, the substance having long since become extinct. 

The Maias, or Orang-utan, which is supposed to 
resemble the human form, in a degree only second to 
the wonderftd Gorilla of Southern Africa, is very 
common in some parts, and frequents certain localities, 
but is not to be found in others. I have never been 
able to account for this peculiarity of limited abode, 
as in some places the river is quite narrow enough for 
them to cross over ; and one can scarcely think that 
the difference of vegetation can be so marked as to 
keep them stationary. 

Their instincts may be sufficiently developed to hold 


them together as a social community ; but I do not 
believe they are capable of any very striking amount 
of discretion or perception. They are certainly 
strangely passionate when tormented, and their cries 
are wonderfully like those of a child. They also have 
some approach to a smile. It takes the form of a 
pleasing expression rather than a laugh. They are 
wonderfully like and unlike the human being. I 
should be glad to extinguish one idea possessed by 
eminent men, namely, that these animals are received 
into connubial partnership with even the very lowest 
of the human family in these parts. A stranger or 
visitor among them might, however, load a diaxy with 
anecdotes of Dyaks, who going to the woods, becom- 
ing orang-utans, and affcer several years, having borne 
many children, have returned and reverted to their 
former condition. Or he might hear that females 
have become pregnant by them, and borne twins, one 
as a human being, and another taking the form of its 
jungle parent. There are many other fables of a like 
kind ; but there is no truth in them, and they them- 
selves are very far firom believing them. They would 
be indescribably horrified if such an experiment were 
seriously proposed to them. To prove that such 
accounts are entirely fabulous, they have similar ones 
about alligators, with whom they recount stories of 


intimacy, and the probability of the one or the other 
is about equal. I fear transmutationists will be dis- 
appointed in their expectations of finding the con- 
necting link in these parts. I should be glad to 
supply the information, if it could be obtained with 
any appearance of truth. But a traveller should be 
nothing if not impartial. 

According to Du Chaillu's account of the Gorilla, it 
exceeds the height of the Maias only by a few inches ; 
many larger specimens of the latter may yet be found. 
But scientific men are much attached to preconceived 
notions. I once was requested to send home the 
dimensions of a large Maias shot in Batang Lupar ; its 
height exceeded any already found by a distinguished 
naturalist who had visited these parts : the conse- 
quence was that my measurement was discredited, 
although I had taken it with my own hands. The 
bones were buried deep, but were carried away by the 
pigs, and no more to be found. The strength of these 
animals is truly wonderful, and a man would have 
little chance of escape who had once been gripped by 

I will endeavour now to give some description of 
the characteristics of Dyak females, whom I have had 
many opportunities of meeting, both when they have 
been paying me complimentary visits, and when I 

VOL. X. W 


have been Btaying in their houses, and so had 
frequent opportunities of judging their social and 
domestic qualifications. 

The men will often be referred to in the following 
pages, at times when active operations have brought 
them more prominently forward. But the gentler sex 
are even more important reaUy. They occupy posi- 
tions, and are capable of exerting surprising influence 
in Eastern countries, in spite of their being so often 
erroneously supposed by Europeans to rank simply as 
goods and chattels. They deserve to have a few quiet 
pages reserved to their special notice. 

In youth and before marriage their figures are 
slight and graceful, with small waists, and not too 
largely developed to obliterate the sylph-like contour 
of a budding beauty. 

Their eyes are, in most cases, jet black, clear, and 
bright, with quick intelligence and temper beaming 
through the orbs. The shape of the lid when open is 
very oval, the lashes are long and thick, forming an 
abundant fringe, which shades the sun's piercing rays 
from the pupils. The brow covering is often so per- 
fectly arched and finely chiselled, as to lead people to 
think that the outline has been shaved, as is done in 
many Eastern countries. We must step, however, the 
ghort distance of an inch and a half, from the sublime 


to the ridiculous, and describe the nose by the simple 
but expressive term, "snubby and turn up/^ Then 
pass on to the mouth, from here to yonder, naturally 
ill-shapen and made worse by disfigurements, from the 
excessive chewing of sirih and betel-nut. The teeth 
are stained black and filed to a point, and the red 
juice is besmeared over their lips and considered an 
adornment. They are not, however, thick lipped, 
nor does their appearance evince an excess of the 
sensual passions, as is foimd in many Asiatics. ' The 
general expression of their coimtenances is attractive 
by the buoyancy and brightness emitted from the eye ; 
this charm pleases and softens the remainder of their 
irregular features. The hair may be compared to a 
Shetland pony^s tail, long, bright, and coarse, which 
lasts as long as health permits. A fever quickly 
deprives them of this beautiftd adornment, of which 
they are exceedingly proud. They seldom fail to 
shake their heads before a spectator, in order to toss 
their flowing tresses over their back and shoulders. 
The more favoured ones, too, when on a visit, are fond 
of the excuse of excessive heat requiring the jacket to 
be withdrawn, to expose a smooth, satiny, brown skin. 
In warm climates this can scarcely be considered an 
indelicacy by the most sensitive. 

Their general dress is very often reduced to the 

F 2 


short frock, which covers from the knees to the waist, 
and the jacket is used or not as they like. 

Their labour soon brings an excess of muscle over 
their frame, and then their appearance becomes hard 
and healthful, but less interesting. 

The holding of parangs in their unformed and 
youthful hands, for the purpose of cutting young 
jungle, injures their fingers, and many are to be seen 
with crooked and enlarged knuckle-bones. The ankle 
swells with continual plodding up hills, or in swampy 

Often one fails to recognise them after gathering 
their harvests, when they are exposed from mom to 
night to sun and rain, and become very black and 
--dingy coloured. 

This, however, soon vanishes when they are restored 
to quiet life. The most trying house-work is beat- 
ing out, or husking the padi, which is placed in a 
wooden trough, and pounded by a long heavy pole 
held in upright attitudes. Sometimes as many as four 
and five women work together, keeping exact time, 
.accompanied with far more noise than thraahrng out 
wheat in England. Their time is occupied from the 
iime of youth, first in water-carrying, feeding poultry 
and pigs, learning, and then making cloths, and mats ; 
then again in farming and padi husking, and last, 


though not least, in watching their bairns, which come 
into the world without much ado or attention from 
nurses. Nature soon recovers herself, and the mother 
frequently is seen within a few days moving about 
with her new charge. 

They marry at an early age, and separate frequently 
before they find a partner to please them, under the 
plea of bad dreams or birds. Strangers generally look 
on their conduct (irrespectively of these temporary and 
probationary marriages) as being remarkably volatile 
and disreputable ; and this idea has been circulated by 
the teachers of the Gospel. But an impartial ob^ 
server, after making inquiry, will find there are many 
more penalties attached to their peccadilloes than, I 
believe, are foimd under similar circumstances in 
Europe. The greatest disgrace is attached to a woman 
found in a state of pregnancy without being able to- 
name her husband; and cases of self-poisoning, to 
avoid the shame, are not of unusual occurrence. If 
one be found in this state, a fine must be paid oT 
pigs and other things. Few even of the chiefs wiD 
come forward mthout incurring considerable responsi- 
bility. A pig is IdUed, which nominally becomes 
the father, for want, it is supposed, of another and 
better one. Then the surrounding neighbours have to 
be furnished with a share of the fine to banish the 


Jahu^ which exists after such an event. If the fine be 
not forthcoming, the woman dare not move out of her 
room, for fear of being molested, as she is supposed to 
have brought evil (Kudi) and confusion upon the 
inhabitants and their belongings. 

I believe there are many good and even fascinating 
qualities in Dyak women. They are not at all want- 
ing in sharpness of intellect, good common sense, firm- 
ness of purpose, and constancy when they have once 
settled down. 

In many cases they are more adept politicians than 
their husbands, and their advice is often followed in 
serious business. Likewise their assistance and good 
opinion go a long way to establish a successful result 
in any negotiation. Their general conversation is not 
wanting in wit, and considerable acuteness of perception 
is evinced, but often accompanied by improper and inde- 
cent language, of which they are unaware when giving 
utteraace to it. Their acts, however, fortunately 
evince more regard for modesty than their words. 
Their gait is very stiflF and ungraceful. It resembles 
waddling more than walking ; and they always have 
the toes turned in, owing to the scantiness of their 
dress, and the habit of fixing its folds between the 
knees. They are wonderfuQy strong walkers^ and 
fetch water for everyday household purposes fi:om sur- 


prising distances. The colour of their skin varies 
considerably, not so much between one tribe and 
another, as in various localities : and whether it be 
attributable to different kinds of water, or food, or 
increase of shade from old jungle, is a question. But 
there is no doubt that all who reside in the interior 
are much fairer than those who have moved towards 
the mouths of the rivers, and a very few years is able 
to effect the change of appearance. They say them- 
selves it is owing to the muddy colour of the water in 
the lower grounds^ whereas further up the river they 
bathe in, and drink of, clear gravelly-bedded streams. 
Their natural tint is an olive or bronze colour, which 
in my opinion is remarkably suited to the human race. 
I will give one instance of their intense desire for 
admiration, and their vindictive (though puerile) spirit 
of jealousy. A Saribus Dyak girl formed a violent 
attachment to a young fellow, and they were, to the 
best of my knowledge, an engaged couple. On pajong 
a visit to. the long house in which they both lived, 
I produced a volume of Byron's Illustrated Beauties, 
and showed them to the people. The young man so 
admired them, that I made him a present of the lot, 
one of which he particularly eulogised and set apart as 
being angelic. He little knew what dark and deep-set 
frowns his remarks were calling forth from his living 


love. Some days after I called again, and on seeing 
the pictures, found the special beaut/s feioe scratched 
and disfigured over the eye and nose. The young man 
thought it had been done by some of the children of 
the house ; but as the remainder were unharmed^ we 
could lay the blame to no one but his lady-love. 

Fourth Division — Malanaus. — This is the most 
numerous and widely-ranged tribe, far different fix)m 
the rest, with ramifications extending over a space of 
many hundreds of miles, and occupying localities in 
the interior and centre of the island extending to the 
heads of the Kotei, Banger Massin, and Kapuas rivers 
in the interior, and beyond Brunei in a northward 
direction. Their exodus has been, and still is, from the 
top or head section of the Kapuas^ marked blue on ike 
map. And their different stages of advancement in 
civilisation are extremely interesting to observe. The 
most primitive section of the tribe are the Bakatans and 
Ukits, named from (bukit) a hill, with the affix " an '' — 
meaning hill tribes. It will be desirable to mention 
that many of their practices are like those of the 
Samangs or Jacoons of the interior of Malacca, A 
vocabulary of the language of the latter I have as yet 
failed to obtain. The branch divisions are severally 
called after the countries in which they reside, each 
possessing different customs and dialects; but the 


whole coast between Rejang and Brunei is no doubt 
inhabited by these people. 

The branches inhabiting the inland and up-rivers 
vary more, although very distinctly of the same stock. 
The names of some of those branches are Kanowit, 
Tanjong, Kajaman, Punan, Maloh, Skapan, Kenniah, 
Bakatan, Ukit, and numerous others. Some few of 
these divisions possess traditions of having come 
originally from the Kotei river, which empties itself 
at the south-east of the island. And between the 
Sejang and the Kotei there are tribes on tribes, all 
through the centre of the island, all bearing a simi- 
larity to one another ;• yet they possess many indi- 
vidual characteristics^ and differ much in customs and 

The more primitive branches practise tatooing, 
variously arranged in their different countries : some 
are nearly covered, others merely have anklets, brace- 
lets, or necklaces, with a star or two on their breasts. 
The further removed they are from civilisation, the 
more thickly are they generally found to be tatooed. 
The most civilised section lives coast^^ays, and having 
much mixed with the Malays, has given up the 

• These people have never seen the sea, and depend upon no im- 
ported supplies for their livelihood, in spite of their affinity one with 


practice of head-hunting, and is now very nhwarlike, 
but exceedingly treacherous. At the other extreme 
of the same tribe, namely, Bakatans and Ukits, &c., 
they do not value heads, but all the intermediate sub- 
divisions and blanches revel in this disgusting method 
of warfare, though not in so great a degree as the Sea 
Dyaks. Part of this tribe practise human sacrifice on 
the death of any chief or man of rank, although it 
is now quite extinct on the coast, owing to inter- 
mixture with more civilised peoples, and the preven- 
tion by Government. But it is still the custom among 
the Eayans and other inland branches, who seldom 
put to death any of their own people, but execute 
unfortunate captives or slaves brought from a distance. 
These sub-tribes are a cruelly disposed people, and 
are in the habit of putting their enemies to death by 
horrible and barbarous tortures. The heads are taken, 
but after being used at the feast axe not valued. 
Some of the divisions on the coast after obtaining the 
head of an enemy, exhibit it in a public place, where 
the women, dressed in their best clothes, repeat incan- 
tations, and walk past in procession : each one taps the 
head with a piece of wood. After this ceremony, it is 
thrown away. This tribe, as before mentioned, are 
cowardly, untruthful and treacherous, and are capable 
of committing many horrors, but the gravest attached 


to the Eayans^ I feel confident, is without foundaidon^ 
namely, that of cannibalism. For during the expedition 
of 1863, there was no sign of it, and I had abundant 
opportunities of making strict inquiries in the very- 
heart of the country. Many reports of this descrip- 
tion are spread by the enemies of a people to degrade 
them in the estimation of Europeans. I have heard 
grave stories told of some of the inhabitants on the 
Eapuas river having tails of six and seven inches long. 
Traders had actually seen them swinging about when 
the people were running away, and there were small 
apertures in benches, for the tails to penetrate when 
they were sitting down. Such reports are purely 
fabulous, and I do not believe any tribes are cannibals 
in this part of Borneo, although stories go far to lead 
one to a contrary belief. For instance, some Malays 
told me only a short while ago, that on an expedition 
against the Engkayas, who live on a tributary of the 
Kapuas, and are under the Dutch jurisdiction, they 
met with pieces of bamboo, which these people had 
thrown away in alarm ; these hollow canes were filled 
with human flesh, used as provisions. I regret that I 
am unable positively to contradict such statements; 
but it is my firm conviction cannibalism is not prac- 
tised on any part of the Island of Borneo. Of the sale 
of relations, and even children, though not common. 


yet there are many examples. Such atrocities prevail 
among the most primitive children of the woods, and 
are principally perpetrated for the purpose of obtaining 
food. They are too negligent to attend sufficiently to 
their farms. The many other failings of a disgusting 
nature we may pass over, as we know people of a low 
civilisation are not capable of drawing fine distinc- 

The Malanau tribe's method of curing their sick is 
curious and ridiculous in the extreme ; and without 
detailing the intricate minutiae of such a proceeding, I 
will only mention that there are two plans, named 
Berasit and Embayu. The former sometimes lasts for 
seven and eight successive days. The inhabitants 
attend such a display as we should a theatre. The 
ceremony is done by a person, either man or woman, 
who is supposed to be able to interpret Satan's language, 
and they act in various ways while doing so. He, or 
she, is comically dressed, the costume being varied 
each night — agoing through imaginary everyday amuse- 
ments, such as fishing, pulling in boats, or climbing to 
pick finiit, and many other daily occupations. The tones 
of their continual wail are monotonously musical, and 
the scene altogether is not displeasing, but produces a 
sensation of pity in a spectator's mind. The actors are 
hired individuals, who receive large sums from the 


ai&icted. The ladies and audience are glad of an 
opportunity of getting " an out/' meeting their admirers, 
and wearing their fine clothes. Berasiting has much 
infected the Mahomedan community, who until lately 
frequently practised it, and were reluctant to abolish 
the custom at the instigation of the religious authori- 

The Embayu is the more primitive, and a more 
savage proceeding. The actors in such a scene present 
a ghastly and wild appearance. The man, or woman, 
with dishevelled hair, twirls the head round imtil his 
staring eyes show that he is ahnost beside himself.. 
Then, with much sleight of hand, he is supposed to 
converse with spirits, and at a certain time to gain a 
power of withdrawing the devil, or evil simaugat 
{" soul") from him who is possessed of sickness. 

The ceremony is attended by much mystery and 
absurdity. I once heard of an Englishman who was 
persuaded to try this remedy after a continued fever : 
he was living without a companion and without 
medicines. The actors waved the beautiful betel-nut 
blossom aroimd his person, accompanied by mysterious 
passes, and energetic protestations to the spirit of 
sickness. What effect it had upon his malady I never 

The Malanaus build picturesque boats, decorated 


with flags and other embellidiments, which are dedi- 
cated to the use of departed spirits, who are supposed 
to travel in them on marine migrations. These crafte 
are placed near tiieir graves. 

Some of the sub-tribes of this division, after the 
death of a chief of notoriety, dress the corpse in best 
clothes, with every decoration of gold about his per- 
son. The sword, and all of the available necessaries 
of life, are also attached to him. He is then placed on 
an elevated platform, as a living being, and becomes 
a public spectacle in the house. His immediate family 
take up their seats around him ; his slaves attend to 
his imagined wants with the fan, siriih and betel-nut. 
On such an occasion the house is opened to all visitors, 
the women, both old and young, form a line on one 
side, and the men on the other ; then they romp 
together with the noise and confusion of a pack of 
maniacs. These games are carried on for some days, 
and long aftec the corpse is in a state of decomposi- 
tion it is properly buried, or placed in order to obtain 
the bones on a future day. Another very absurd 
practice (now obsolete) was to drift the deceased's 
sword, eatables, clothes, jars, — and often in former 
days, a slave woman accompanied these articles, 
chained to the boat, — out to sea, with a strong ebb tide 
running, in order that the deceased might meet with 


these necessaries in his upward flight As a natural 
consequence, the unfortunate woman fell a sacrifice to 
this barbarous proceeding. But in many cases the 
MalajTB obtained previous intelligence of the forth- 
coming ritual, when they were in the habit of watching 
the mouth of the river to plunder the goods, as well as 
to obtain a slave free of expense. 

I have always made it a point to attend, with con- 
siderable respect to strange people's practices, for it is 
as well not too abruptly to laugh at superstitious 
modes, however far-fetched they may seem. On one 
occasion, some of tl^e Malanau people had laid the dry- 
leaf of a palm, peculiarly folded up, within a few yards 
of my house, owing to some one having fallen down 
on this spot and been injured. The " Antus '' (spirits) 
in consequence had to be appeased. Antus, or no 
Antus, I did not approve of the vicinity of this leaf to 
my abode, so picked it up and threw it away. I had 
been warned that anyone touching it would get a 
swollen aim. By some unpleasant coincidence, within 
two days of touching the leaf, my arm became tnfiamed 
and swollen for more than a fortnight afterwards. 

Having mentioned the four divisions of populations 
inhabiting the Sardwak territory, some attempt will 
now be mado to ofier a reasonable hypothesis from 
what part of the world these people could originally 


have axrived. In works on New Zealand, particularly 
the very excellent book by Dr. Thomson, we find that 
the supposed stock of the New Zealand inhabitants is 
taken back by a circuitous course to the Island of 
Sumatra. This supposition is based on the fact, that 
certain words are used in their traditions, bearing 
relation to islands intervening, on which they must 
have called while on their voyage. 

There are many difl&culties to be met before it can 
be received with any degree of certainty. Customs 
and language are almost totally diJGFerent, but time 
would rapidly bring a change in them. Again, there 
seems a more important drawback, which is this : why 
should any people desire a change, leaving as they 
must have done, a beautifully rich country, abounding 
in every richness of cultivation with the smallest 
amount of labour, and even the spontaneous vegetation 
being sufficient for the bare wants of nature ? Why, 
again, should a people migrate with their families, at 
the expense of trials and dangers by water, fix>m a 
warm genial climate into a cold one ? What induce- 
ment could they find to go to a place even the appear- 
ance of which was totally unknown to them, until 
within sight of its sandy beaches ? 

The writers on New Zealand may be allowed to 
entertain this hypothesis, for and against which there 


is much to be said. Why should the islapd of 
Sumatra be more likely than the Malayan pen^isula 
to have been the home of the original stock ? Or again^ 
take the large islands nearer to New Zealand and on 
its direct course, as Celebes or Java, which again, may 
in an earlier period have been peopled from Sumatra^ 
as Sumatra, in one still earlier, had been populated from 
some other country. 

But Sumatra may very probably have been one of* 
the steps, or links, as Pulan Timor another, on which 
the New Zealanders and others may have lodged while 
on their migratory course. From the appearance of 
the map, the prevailing winds, and many other 
palpable reasons, there is great probability that these 
islands of the Eastern Archipelago have been peopled 
from the north. For if we take into consideration the 
crowds of inhabitants in China, the number dying 
yearly from starvation, and those rendered outcasts by 
the bloody wars of former times, their desire for emi- 
gration in consequence would be excessive. 

The Malayan Peninsula adjoins the boundaries of 
Cochin China, and on the other side of that country 
we find the Chinese flocking in crowds, abounding far 
in excess of the resources of the land. One may theni 
rationally infer a tendency to draw southwards, by 
land or sea. The result would follow. The nearest 

TOL. Z. • 


available countries would be occupied, and Sumatra 
Avith these islands are the first lying directly south. 
If it could be ascertained, and there is no great diffi- 
culty attending such a research, the features of a 
northern Chinaman would, I believe, be found gradually 
to undergo a change, the farther south on the main- 
land we advance. For example : take a northern 
Chinaman, and compare him to a southerner. Apply 
the same argument to the Cochin Chinese and Siamese, 
and lastly to the Malayan Peninsula which is attached 
to Siam. These changes would be found very gradual, 
without a wider difference than there is between an 
Englishman and a Highlander. 

In the north-east monsoon, which blows for about 
four months every year, any of thdir junks, which are 
built with every facility for nmning safely in a heavy 
rolling sea — could reach without difficulty the shores 
of Borneo or the surrounding islands. The difference 
of appearance, religion, language and customs, exterior 
changes and climate will amply aecoimt for. 

The names of mountains, rivers, and many localities 
about Brunei and along the coast, give additional 
weight to these remarks. The highest mountain in 
Borneo, seen one himdred miles &om the coast, is called 
the '' Chinese Widow"— Kina Balu. For lie rest, the 
reader may consult Mr. St. John's work 


Another point in connection with this subject is the 
most valuable article of commerce among the inhabi- 
tants — ^their jars, prized to an extraordinary extent 
over the greater part of the island. There are many- 
different kinds ; but without doubt they were manu- 
factured by the Chinese. 

Here again is another peculiar fact. Bamboo, a 
native of China, we now find in considerable quantities 
in this country. It has been largely planted in the 
interior, and is valuable for may uses. 

The forge, bellows, &c., and manufactory of iron 
found in this coimtry may then (if these suggestions 
could be proved by the collection and summing up of 
farther evidence) be said to have been brought here by 
the Chinese, — ^the original parent stock of the present 
population of Borneo, but who have now lost their 
identity amid exterior changes and altered circum- 
stances of all kinds. 

The Chinese -are not so bigoted to their own. super- 
stitions^ nor prejudiced against others, as any other 
race of people. And where converts have been made, 
there have been few caaes in which they have returned 
to tiieir former creed. Their industrious character in 
their previous condition, where want was the hard 
tutor, would soon lapse into the easy-minded gentie- 
men of these parts, encouraged, as it would be, by the 



climate and the facilities for maintaining life. A few 
generations without any regular conmiimication with 
the mother country, could bring about changes suffi- 
cient to entitle them to be designated (by superficial 
observers) another race. 

Before closing this chapter on the population re- 
siding in the Sarawak territory, I will ofier a few 
remarks on the Chinese, who are second to no other in 
importance in the Eastern seas. So far as my expe- 
rience of these people goes (notwithstanding that 
Sardwak has suffered so severely from d branch of 
them — ^for we must make allowances for the frailties 
of human nature), John Chinamen, as a race, are an 
excellent set of fellows, and a poor show would these 
Eastern countries make without their energetic presence- 
They combine many good, many dangerous, and, it 
must be admitted, many bad qualities. Activity, 
enterprise, and speculation, perhaps, are their upper- 
most and outermost virtues. They are given to be 
overbearing and insolent (unless severely kept down), 
nearly to as great a degree as Europeans of the 
rougher classes. They will cheat their neigh- 
bours, and resort to all manner of deceptions en 
principle. But their redeeming qualities are com- 
parative charitableness and liberality ; a fondness 
for improvements, and, except in small mercantile 


affairs and minor trading transactions, they are 

They, in a few words, possess the wherewithal to be 
good fellows, and are more fit to be compared to 
Europeans than any other race of Easterns. 

They have been excluded as much as possible froni 
gaining a footing in Batavia^ under the plea of their 
dangerous and usurious pursuits ; but the probability 
is, that they would have raised an unpleasant anta- 
gonism in the question of competition in that country. 
The Chinaman would be equal to the master, or white 
man, if both worked fairly by the sweat of their brow. 
As for their usury, it is not of so dangerous a character 
as that which prevails among the Javanese, or other 
natives, whose system so frequently leads to slave 
debtors, forced, as has been described, to work for a 
master merely to defray the interest of the debt in- 
curred, without a possibility of paying the original 
sum. I simply give utterance to my ideas, formed 
from what I found Chinamen, after many years' expe- 
rience, to be. Upon my first arrival I was strongly 
possessed by the opinion that they were all rascals and 
thieves — the character so generally attached to the 
whole race at home. But to be candid, and looking at 
both sides, I would as soon deal with a Chinese mer- 
chant in the East as an European one ; and I believe 


the respectable class of Chinese to be equal in honesty 
and integrity to the white men. 

The Chinese may be nearly as troublesome a people 
to govern &a Europeans, certainly not more so : and 
their good qualities, in which they are not deficient, 
should be cherished and stimulated, while their bad 
ones are regulated by the discipline of law imder a 
just and liberal government. 

They are a people specially amenable to justice, and 
are happier under a stringent than a lenient system. 
But there is a moderation in things, and the Chinese 
soon gnash their teeth and rebel against anything like 
bullying or harshness. 


Lingga — Situation and population— Alligators — ^Manner of catching — 
Excursion to interior — Tabooed river — ^Pish poisoning — Yenomous 
ants — Discomfort — Dyak reception — Doctoring — ^Bad govern- 
ment — ^Old ladies — ^Inveterate talkers — ^Dyak impetuosiiy — ^Man 
wounded— Superstition— Deer-snaring"— Trip to Sibuyau— Night 
walk — ^Thorns— Maias' habits- Tabarong conference— Contradic- 
tory reports — ^Enemies and half-friends — Second trip to Sibuyau — 
Evil spirits — Scenery — G^amang — ^Initiation — Monkey killed — 
Saiibus Dyaks depredations — ^Dandi expedition — ^Pa Demdang — 
Biver dangers — Sakarang^-Dyak custom— Eequisition— Visit to 
Dyak homes — ^Inland march — ^Difficult walking^Halt — Confer- 
ence—Division of force — Panic — Confusion— Betum — ^Wounded 
men — ^Enemy's chivalry — Dead fiailure— Attack on Bugau Dyaks 
— Captives — ^Their behaviour— Sungei Lang expedition — Confer- 
ence— Advance-Engagement— Victory — Eetum— Fatal sickness 
— ^Death of friend— Solitary abode— Dyak custom— Deaths by 
Saribus Dyaks— Old ladies — ^Their power— Malpractices — Com- 
plaints— Belief of afflicted— Shocking conduct— Trial of strength- 
Quiet resignation. 

Juney 1853. — ^The station Lingga, seventy miles 
from Sarawak, and about twenty miles from tihie 
mouth of the Batang Lupar, is situated on a small 
river of the same name, and contains about five 
thousand inhabitants, chiefly Dyaks. 

From this date I considered myself fairly among. 


these gentlemen of the jungle, and in what k termed 
the Sea Dyak division, which has been explained in 
the previous chapter. 

The appearance of the country about Lingga was 
far from inviting, being a dead swamp, without any 
high groimd for ten miles around, and then only in 
detached hills. The Malay population lived thirteen 
miles from the mouth of the river, on a hill named 
Banting, the precipitous sides of which afforded a safe 
retreat from the incursions of Saribus marauders. The 
Sar&wak Government considered it for the good of 
the community to move the Malays to the mouth of 
the Lingga, and in consequence ordered wood for my 
fattire fortified house. The ground around was a 
black mire, about three feet deep, with the shaky 
trembUng nature of an Irish bog. The Malays and 
Dyaks soon commenced building this primitive strong- 
hold, and in ten days it was completed sufficiently to 
receive its commander. There' was a fine expanse of 
water in front, the river being here nearly three miles 
broad, the sea breeze off which was refreshing and 
pure. The first thing to do now was to dig a deep 
ditch, both for the purposes of drainage and to obtain 
decent drinking and bathing water ; but when found 
it resembled the colour of a strong mixture of brandy ; 
the taste, however, was better than the appearance. 


The vegetable matter lay more than a foot thick on 
the surface of this low soil, and its decomposition of 
course naturally affected the water, which was stag- 
nant in many places. It is surprising how healthy 
these localities are, and free from fevers and ague, 
such complaints more frequently attacking the in- 
habitants further up the river, where the banks are 
high and dry and the water clear. 

I was thrown more than ever on my own resources 
with the language, and found the Lingga Dyaks less 
amiable in their manners than the Limdus, with whom, 
however, they were friendly. They were much shyer, 
and had that general and most disagreeable idea that 
white men only came into their country for the pur- 
pose of making them presents, and this, in many cases, 
most effectually prevented me showing them much 
kindness. This tribe had always been friendly to the 
Rajah, to whose rule they owed so much, having been 
protected from the attacks of their direst enemy, the 

Within the last month three of the population 
had been carried off by alligators, either while fish- 
ing or when bathing at the landing places. These 
monsters, like most wild animals, after once having 
tasted human flesh, watch for it regularly ever after- 
wards ; and the natives themselves will not take the 


trouble to set traps for them unless rewarded, so a 
prize of two dollars a head was oflFered, and in the 
course of. a short time four large ones were brought to 
me. They had been caught by common native wooden 
cross-piece hooks, which are lashed at the centre to 
twisted bark, answering the purpose of a rope, and so 
tough that the biting would fail to sever it ; an animal 
as bait is then skewered with the wood, and is so 
managed that it shall enter the jaws of the alligator 
lengthways ; the beast then feeling the hook, tries to 
emit it, but the wood, which is sharp at either end, 
becomes fixed across the throat, and the resistance 
made in its endeavours to be free only forces the 
points deeper into the flesh. At the other end of the 
twisted bark is a wooden buoy, which, when found, is 
towed to the banks of the river, and the animal hauled 
up to be dispatched. The bait being hung several 
feet above the surface of the water, from which the 
alligator springs to a considerable height, his enormous 
body falling with a splash to be heard at a great dis- 
tance. The natives give them credit for much saga- 
city, and they are generally addressed as Eajah before 
their heads are cut off. I kept one for more than a 
week in a moat, fastened by an iron chain. It was 
about twelve feet long, and the fortmen intended to 
put it to death and gain the reward ; but the evening 


before the time appointed for its execution the beast 
maDoged to slip its chain and crawl through an open- 
ing in the enclosure, and so escaped. I had a small 
one. about eight inches long for some days, and on 
decapitating it, a dog happened to pass, at which the 
jaws opened, and I foolishly put my finger inside the 
mouth, when the jaws shut, and the bite drew blood. 
The eyes were open all the while, and I was told by 
natives that large alligators had the power of opening 
and shutting their jaws for hours after their head had 
been cut oflF. 

Azig74sty 1853. — I resolved with a friend to take an 
excursion among some of the Dyaks of the interior. 
We slept for one night in a Malay abode — ^I can't 
call it house — in a place named Kusing. The in- 
mates (with whom in after years I became familiarly 
acquainted) were very kind, and made us as comfort- 
able as they could ; but the place was a wretched 
building, with only covering enough to keep out the 
rain, and destitute of comfort of any description. In 
the morning a beautiful orchid in faU bloom was 
wafting the sweetest scent through the otherwise fusty 
dwelling. The flowers were picked for the purpose 
of being presented to us, but a crabbed old woman 
snatched them away, and offered instead two stale 
eggs. On proceeding up a narrow and much over-r 


grown stream, we passed one small rivulet tabooed, 
in consequence of a rich chief having lately died. 
There were some spears stuck into the bank, and 
poles fixed across. No one could break through th^ese 
impediments, without incurring a severe fine ; but 
when the time of moiurning is expired, the relatives 
of the deceased poison the fish in the stream, and any 
of the population can be present to spear them, after 
which the taboo is opened. 

The fish are poisoned by means of the tubar plant 
or certain finiits, which, after being beaten and pounded, 
are thrown into the river ; the fish becoming stupefied, 
rise to the surface, when the people throw barbed 
spears, with buoyant bamboo staffs, so that in the 
event of the fish being wounded, the bamboo floats 
and is easily recovered. These streams are not sup- 
posed to have the taboo displaced till the successor to 
the dead man has obtained a head, and in preparation 
for the feasting of it he provides the fish of the 
tabooed stream. 

Our pleasure was somewhat damped by a .steady 
downfall of rain, causing everything to feel moist and 
uncomfortable even whilst 'under cover. In the even- 
ing we arranged a few pieces of wood and the mat 
covering of the boat on the bank of a river as our 
sleeping berth, and after a very scanty dinner retired 


to rest, the rain continuing to pour. I had slept but 
a short time, when I was awakened by a disturbance 
among the men, who cried, " Sampada, sampada 1 *' 
which was the name of a severe biting ant. On 
lifting the lamp, I saw a dense moving mass of these 
small creatures for many yards around, and one of 
my men brought a lighted log of wood, which he said 
would soon drive them away. It was placed between 
my friend and myself, and on moving to arrange it, 
one of the ants bit me, causing me to cry out. I 
never felt anything so acute in my life. 

I was told to remain quiet ; and, while viewing the 
surrounding enemy, judged it the best plan. The 
lighted log seemed more to attract than otherwise. 
I was holding the lamp, consisting of half a tumbler 
of rank-smelling cocoa-nut oil, when — ^another bite, 
and away went the oil all over myself, mat, and 
pillow, leaving me in total darkness ; and then I did 
not know what to do, so remained as still as death, 
determined to die a martyr, for I could not go any- 
where else without running the gauntlet of these 
tormentors. . 

The lads ran away, right and left, into the jungle, 
to waft until the insects had passed, and I sat in my 
position till morning. 

My companion having remained stUl throughout 


the night, 'escaped the infliction. These ants are the 
most determined enemies when attacked or in any 
way molested. 

In the morning we both felt heavy and full of 
pains, from being half wet all night, but hot coffee 
restored our energies, and again we proceeded in our 
boat, and reached a Dyak house after a few hours, 
one of which was in sharp walking over hill and dale. 
This house contained thirty-eight doors, and the chiefs 
name was Janang^ who came forth to welcome us, as 
is their custom. Mats were instantly brought out 
from the inner room by the females, who rushed 
about, making a great fuss, in a way so natural to all 
female communities. Sirih and betel were placed in 
front of us, and, after a delicious bathe, we were very 
comfortable. The people sat at a respectful distance, 
and only the chief attended our wants, we being his 
guests. We conversed on a variety of topics ; the 
principal one was their farming grounds, and the 
kind of crop they had received. The chiefs wife 
brought out a child to show us, of. which they 
were both very proud ; but a more consummate lump 
of ugliness I nev^ set eyes on. In the evening, we 
witnessed a poor sick woman being doctored, 4l deco- 
rated seat had been placed for her on the outer part 
of the house, and here she was seated, suctoundod by 


eight of the doctors, who were dressed in gorgeous 
clothes, and some in female costume. An umbrella 
was over the patient, and the doctors paraded around 
her, giving utterauce to a monotonous kind of chant. 
In the first circuit they placed their hands on their 
heads ; the second, on their eyes ; the next, on their 
mouth ; and so on, until they reached their knees ; 
after which they lifted the woman from her seat, and 
swung her to and &>. This lasted for three hours, 
when I thought she would have died from exhaustion. 
The doctors were howling all night outside her door, 
and we heard she was better next morning. So much 
for imaginary satisfaction I 

At early dawn we marched to a distant Dyak house 
at Empilih. The country we passed through was pic*- 
turesque and undulating, the tops of all the hills being 
covered with old jungle, while on the sides th^re were 
laj^e clearings for padi. 

We rested in one long house on our way, and I was 
surprised to find what little notice the inmates took of 
our colour and appearance. It was the first time they 
had eyec seen a white man, yet they were not shy nor 
obtrusive, behaving with an easy manner of politeness, 
offering us food and the few refreshments they possessed. 

On reaching our destination^ we received a surly 
welcome from a very crusly-looking old chief, and 


before I had sat half-an-hour, I repented of having 
taken the trip. But it waa too late to return that 
day, so there we passed the night. While lying down 
I could hear the old man talking in no very compli- 
mentary terms of myself and other white men. I felt 
disinclined to enter into converse with this old savage, 
and was glad to bid them all adieu the first thing 
in the morning, but was surprised to hear a salute 
fired after our departure, in compensation, I suppose, 
for the incivility he had shown while we were his 
guests. On my way back, I sat long one night with 
an old gentleman who gave me my first lesson in the 
Dyak language, and designated me an "Orang Bel- 
landa,*" or Hollander, as we are generally known by the 
more ignorant They have a notion that there is but 
one race of white men, and that race, Dutchmen, while 
Europe and Singapore are always classed together as 
being one place. 

The Dyaks now brought their cases for settlement, 
and those for old debts were very numerous ; more, 
indeed, than I could ever hope to settle, as the foul 
wrongs and practices of old times can be but partially 
rectified or altered. 

The head Malay of the place had been in the habit 
of receiving as much revenue by regular means as he 
could f(H*ce firom the Dyaks and, in addition to Uns, 


he oftentimes received sums of money fix)m traders, 
who were then permitted to pass up the river, and 
carry on an extortionate trade among the Dyaks, while 
all others were prevented unless they paid a like 
amount to the chief.* Govenmient there waa none, for 
every individual seemed to do the best with his own, 
and cared very little about his neighbours — ^fines being 
only imposed on the fidendless and unprotected. 

The most powerful of the people in the place were 
two old ladies^ who often told me that all the land and 
inhabitants belonged to them ; and of all the talkers 
in the world, I would back these old dames to be 
the most untiring. A continual prate fix)m sunset till 
daylight was no unusual occurrence. Whenever they 
spoke of me, I was their son ; but they hated me with 
no ordinary bitterness, so I was prepared to do battle 
with them shortly, only a few of their monstrous mal- 
practices having as yet been brought before me. 

A serious Dyak case occurred about this time. A 
Dyak doctor had engaged to attend on a sick man, 
and in the event of his remaining alive three days, a 
payment in jars was to be made aa a fee. The three 
days expired, and the payment was made, when the 
patient died ; upon which the son of the dead man, an 
impetuous young lad, demanded the restoration of the 
jars — a request the doctor refused to accede to. The 



son drew his parang, and exclaimmg " My name may 
letum to the skies ! ^ cut down the doctor, and severely 
womided his son. Though neither was killed, the 
former received some fearful wounds over the face and 

'The case was heard before the whole of the popula- 
tion, and the culprit fined three jars, or about 24?. 
This was the first serious charge brought before me 
in a judicial capacity. It really vexes one to hear 
of the superstitious absurdities the people practise, 
even those of rank and intelligence. For instance, 
I was told by a Pangeran, a. blacksmith by trade, that 
he could not touch any ironwork without the body of 
his infant son turning the colour of fire ; and on his 
lifting the hammer while engaged at his forge, the 
child instantly commenced screeching and crying, 

SeptemheVy 1853. — ^For my special amusement some 
of the Dyaks got up a party to snare deer. I was 
absent nearly three days, in a small low boat, by the 
side of swamps, during which the annoyance from 
mosquitoes was intense, with feverishness at night 
generally as the consequence. 

Before the snares were laid out, the old man said 
seriously, " Kemember, while we are watching for the 
deer, you must on no account cough, or strike at a 
mosquito, as the noise would frighten them." We 


caught one laxge doe, and then returned ; but I must 
confess the sport was as slow as anything could be, 
the only exciting part of it being when the deer rushes 
into the snare, and with the tremendous impetus, he 
is generally thrown backwards; then the watcher rushes 
up and cuts down the beast. But there is considerable 
danger of becoming entangled in the nooses, or of 
coming in contact with the deer as he is madly tearing 
about in his endeavours to escape. 

The watching in deathlike silence, up to one^s knees 
in water, was the provoking part ; such sport does not 
deserve the patience and exposure. My next trip in 
search of game was to Sibuyau, a small stream at the 
mouth of the Batang Lupar. We found out a large 
open piece of marshy ground, and I had the satisfaction 
of hearing a deer, but faUed to get a shot at him. 
Our intention was to stay the night here, and watch 
for their coming to drink or bathe, but the old rotten 
wooden sleeping place looked such a likely spot for 
snakes and other pestiferous vermin (to which I was 
not yet inured), that I persuaded my followers to return 
at sunset, and after an hour's brisk walking, darkness 
came on. The Dyak guides remained in front as long 
as the light lasted, but after dusk they dropped to the 
rear, and I believe they would have remained there all 
night had they been by themselves, having a peculiar 

H 2 

422523 A 


aversion to walkiiig in the dark. We soon began to 
puzde over our path, and discussions arose about it ; 
though but a short distance, it occupied us till near 
midnight. We could distinctly hear voices in the 
boats, but it was next to impossible to proceed in this 
marshy swamp, where the underwood and thorny 
palms were so thickly intertwined. Several times 
after having placed my feet on something sharp, I took 
a header among them. That evening I resolved never 
to try jungle walking at night again, particularly with- 
out shoes, a part of dress I had relinquished since 
living among Dyaks ; the thorns had entered my skin 
from head to foot, and fully a month elapsed before I 
got rid of them all. While proceeding inland we 
passed several orang-utans (Maias) ; on one tree a 
large family was assembled. I counted eight of them 
in all, three old ones, and the remainder of them 
young ; they showed no signs of fear, but sat looking 
at us with their peculiarly grave faces, and it would 
have seemed natural if these pictures of humanity had 
hailed us in some language of their own. Unless for 
the sake of scientific research, it is nearly barbarous 
killing these animals, or even monkeys, for that they 
have many of the impressions and sensations of human 
beings no one can doubt who has examined their 
iiabits, together with the continual change of expres- 


sion of comxtenance^ all so plainly superior to the 
habits of the other tribes of creation. The next 
morning we clambered three small hills in search of 
Argos pheasants, and though we heard their plaintive 
cries in many directions^ not a sight of one could be 

On returning to Lingga the same day, we raced 
with a boat pulled by lusty Dyak females, who had 
been gathering oysters from the rocks at the mouth ; 
they fairly beat us in speed, and it was amusing to watch 
their gravity of countenance while using the paddle 
and sitting upright as statues. 

" She with her paddling oar and dancing prow, 
Shot throng^ the surf like a reindeer throng^ the snow." 

After we reached the landing-place, I presented them 
with some tobacco, then they broke out into laughter, 
quizzing my crew for allowing themselves to be beaten 
by women. These wenches were better looking than 
most of the herd. 

December^ 1853. — The Eajah and several other 
Europeans, with boats of Sar&wak Malays, called at 
Lingga, on their way to Sakarang, and I joined them ; 
we spent one night in Mr. Brereton's fort, and then 
proceeded up the river, where we had some idea of 
meeting a formidable enemy, of whom we had received 


several reports the previous night This was the first 
force that had entered this river with Europeans since 
the attack in the " Dido's" boats, when Messrs. Wade 
and Steward were killed. We stopped at Tabarong, 
where a boom had been placed across the river to 
prevent the enemy from passing down ; and here we 
held several conciliatory conferences with the enemy, 
who were in armed force some distance above us. 
Sometimes they promised to come and be friends, at 
others they demurred, excusing themselves with various 
inconsistent reasons. 

Three days passed in this manner, and each day 
must have brought a dozen newsmongers at least, all 
with contradictory reports. Despotism I dislike ; but 
forbearance does not go beyond a certain point in the 
management of Dyaks, who have the feelings of 
children ; kindness and severity must proceed hand in 
hand with such a people. We then retired, after 
having been told that the chiefe could not be our 
friends, although they did not profess to be open 
enemies. Rentap and Bulan were their leaders ; the 
former being the active and subtle warrior, and the 
latter the passive and cautious looker-on, seeing how 
events would eventually resolve themselves, unde- 
cided to take a side with either party, but waiting to 
see who would prove victorious. These half friends 

8E00ND TBIF. 103 

have always been very dangerous, and far more diffi- 
cult to deal with than open enemies. 

While living in boats our amusements were reading, 
bathing, and watching the nice-looking Dyak dam- 
sels descend to landing-places night and morning to 
draw water, and adorn themselves, which they regu- 
larly did without any needless shyness. 

After this fruitless attempt to bring about better 
relations between the inland Dyaks and ourselves, we 
returned to our several homes and occupations. 

While on a second visit to Sibuyau, I had an opporr 
tonity of seeing much more of the people and country. 
On entering into the first house, I was surprised to 
find the people so downcast and sullen ; and on 
making inquiry as to the cause, they told me the 
farms had not yielded a sufficient quantity of padi to 
keep them throughout the year. The inmates said 
there had been an " Antu " dwelling among them for 
some years, who had brought evil upon everything. 
This Antu was in the shape of a human being who 
lived at the head of the river, and they begged me to 
punish him severely as I proceeded onwards. They 
added, wherever he casts his eyes, destruction fol- 
lowed., I condoled with them, and endeavoured to 
reason about the matter being impossible. This waai, 
however, useless, as they remarked, "Ah! but you 


caimot understand us ; we have different habits to the 
white people/' After some conversation they gradually 
became amiable, and I heard no more of the Antu ; 
but in all such cases, no indifference should be dis- 
played by a stranger ; a regard for their feelings will 
soon attract their sympathy, and be the means of 
drawing attention to what is told them : but any 
sudden thwarting causes obstinacy in their super- 
stitious minds, as yet unamenable to reason. 

While proceeding up the river we started a few alliga- 
tors, but failed in killing any. The river rapidly became 
narrower^ and was jBdnged by a beautiful pale green 
moss, which afforded some variety from the colours of 
the old jungles. The tracks of deer were very nume- 
rous, but only the tracks, the animals themselves not 
being forthcoming. Our food consisted of fresh fish, 
of which we caught abundance by means of a hand 
net, whenever we stopped. 

The houses that we entered at a place called 
Kadumpai, were very prettily situated among high 
hills, with running falls of water pouring down under 
the shady fruit-trees. The head man, "Gamang," be- 
came a great friend of mine. He had remarkably 
pleasant manners, with good sense. He said, **You 
should have sent word that you intended to pay us a 
visit, and I would have come down with my followers 


LRY \ 



R . L 




to fetch you, and fired oflf guns, instead of your enter- 
ing my house, and finding me fast asleep." In the 
afternoon I drifted down, with one follower, in a small 
sampan on a stream (running through an extensive 
grass plot) in search of deer, but to no purpose. At 
night we sat and chatted until a late hour. The next 
day I marched some eighteen miles over hill and dale, 
and the Dyaks gave me much information as to their 
customs ; and while hearing the chirps of their omen 
birdls, they did not fail to initiate me into their pecu- 
liarities. We saw and entered some dirty Dyak houses 
on the hills, the deficiency of water accounting for the 
want of cleanliness. Some of the views were gloriously 
beautiful ; and man, in such a position, feels himself 
to be a little bit of pure nature. While coming back, 
a great variety of monkeys showed themselves on the 
banks ; and on one very large one presenting himself, 
I took a deliberate aim and fired, and he felL Any- 
thing more like a child would be difficult to find. It 
was one of the long nose species, standing about three 
feet high, with very prettily-formed legs (fat and 
round) ; the nose was loose, without the development 
of bone found in a human face ; but, altogether, I was 
glad to leave such a spectacle, and it was some time 
before I could obliterate the object and idea fix)m my 
mind. I called again at the house which the '* Antu '' 


was supposed to firequent This time both females 
and men came down to my boat with presents of rice, 
fowls, almond oil, &c. I felt I had made an impression 
on their hearts, and had banished the spirit These 
people have suffered most from the depredations of 
Saribus and Sakarang Dyaks, and few have any 
heirlooms left. Their houses have repeatedly been 
plundered and burnt down, and their poor scattered 
tribe would soon have become extinct if the Rajah's 
Government had not protected them. 

Aprily 1854. — ^We now attended to the frequent 
representations of Mr. Brereton and the friendly chiefs 
in the Sakarang district, of the disturbed state of the 
country in a place named Dandi, which contained a 
long Dyak house, headed by a refractory leader, "Pa 
Dendang." It is situated upon a hill which forms a 
backbone, and from being located between the two 
streams, served to keep both Sakarang and Saribus in 
a continual state of ferment. A force was raised in 
Sar&wak for the purpose of strengthening the Sakarang 
people sufficiently to drive this dangerous character 
from his abode. After the boats were prepared, the 

expedition started from Sarawak, with Mr. as 

our leader and commander-in-chief. 

I felt anxious to witness the forthcoming encounter, 
as this was the first time I had had an opportunity of 


following an expedition against a Dyak enemy, and 
the idea of sporting my new accoutrements and arms 
(all with the latest and best improvements) was, to 
say the least, a pleasing sensation. The force from 
Lingga joined that of Sarawak, and both proceeded up 
the Batang Lupar, which is a noble stream for some 
distance, and then becomes dangerous, on account of 
its narrow and rapid channels, throwing up a bubble 
of a sea, in which only a high boat can stand. The 
swift eddies and whirl of waters rushing round some 
of the sharp points, both with the flood and ebb tides, 
are exceedingly awkward, .as a touch on the sand is 
sufficient to roU a boat over. Few could be saved, 
as skill in swimming would in such a boiling and 
bubbling together of waters be almost useless. 

Many of the inhabitants are drowned; and my naval 
experience I found to be quite out of place in having 
to cope with the seas in a river, the natives being the 
only pilots. On our force reaching within a few miles 
of Mr. Brereton's fort at the mouth of Sakarang, we 
found many of those Dyaks in their large boats ready 
to receive and escort us to the town, and the con- 
trast between these finely-painted and natty-looking 
praus and our heavy Banting boats was striking. As 
with the boats, so also with the men. The Sakarangs 
were some shades lighter in colour, and were adorned 


with red and yellow clothes, and with brass wire on the 
arms and under their knees. In their ears they wore 
a set of rings, the lower one being the largest, gra- 
dually decreasing in size towards the tip. The effect 
is not displeasing when they are in full dress ; but the 
ear is much disfigured when deprived of its decoration, 
there being a row of small holes, in which they fix 
pieces of wood to keep them open, and the brass 
frequently produces ulcerated sores and discoloured 
places about their flesh. The Sakarang tribe are 
allowed to be nice-looking, and are particularly notice- 
able for their agility, coupled with elegance of gait 
The meeting of these two tribes (Banting and Saka- 
rang), who had been on terms of deadly feud for 
generations past, was far from amicable : the former, 
to whom I was then attached, denying the Sakarangs 
to have a single virtuous quality. They were cowardly 
traitors — crafty, false, and never to be trusted. The 
Bantings drew their boats quietly under the banks 
of the river, or advanced at a distance, when the Saka- 
rang party were being noticed. The latter were bright 
with flags and pennants of every description, from the 
British Boyal standard or a pocket handkerchief 

The Orang Kaya Gassing was dressed with some 
cast-off habiliments of an European, which had been 


gaudy once^ but now looked mucli as if the dress and 
its contents were intended as a scarecrow to drive 
birds off a pea bed. 

On arriviQg at the fort at Sakarang, we found a 
large concourse of MalayB, seated in chairs the whole 
length of the audience hall. They shook hands with 
us all, asking the common questions — ^' Where did you 
start from V and " What is the news V^ Our com- 
mander then sat a short time with them, and con- 
versed a little with the head man. The old Seriff 
Mullah, who had been burnt out in the "Dido's'* expe- 
dition, was now living quietly here with his family, 
without much power to do good or harm. He was 
very much out of humour, I thought, as he perpetually 
grumbled, in a whining tone, of sickness, poverty, and 
old age. He soon rose to bid adieu, and retired, most 
of the others following his example. The gongs, 
native drums, and a small instrument which sounded 
like cymbals, were merrily, but not very musically, 
playing in all directions ; and our party of whites be- 
took themselves to the inner section of the fort, and 
arranged mats for reading and sleeping. It is sur- 
prising what a quantity of both one can do in such a 
place as an out-station, either when starting or stopping 
during an expedition. Sleeping, however, far exceeds 
the reading. Without the precincts of privacy, crowds 


of natives immediatdy surround one to sliaJke hands^ 
and ask ever so many irrelevant questions, some in 
languages I did not then know. If no reply is made, 
they imagine one is not pleased, and think you angry 
or distant. This to a shy individual is very disagree- 
able; but fortunately all our party were not shy. They 
could encounter all these little difficulties with open 
face, and push their way onward, so as to be useful in 
many ways : — such aa arrangement of arms, ammuni- 
tion, reception of parties, with the one or two simple 
words required to soothe and satisfy them, manage- 
ment of boats, division of provisions, prevention of 
indiscriminate advance, choice of guides, preparation of 
gear for an inland march, and making many necessary 
inquiries concerning route, &c., &c. A pocket-book 
should never be out of hand, as names and niunbers, 
new localities, on river and land, are too perpetually 
being used, to remain in the memory. 

After remaining here two day^, we advanced up the 
Sakarang stream as far as a place named Lipat, where 
there were a few friendly Dyak houses, one of which 
belonged to an old man named Linghi, the oldest 
friend to the white man there is on the river. He 
had already met and embraced us with as much polish 
of manner and polite bearing as you would see ex* 
hibited by a Frenchman or Italian. It is a common 


way of salutation among the Dyaks. Old Linghi was 
a little wizened, small-pox-marked fellow, long past 
middle age, an inveterate talker, and as merry as 
possible on every occasion — asking a string of ques- 
tions without much meaning attached to any of them. 
He was followed by two fine-looking sons, who were 
of the same cheerful appearance as himself, though 
much his superior in every way. 

We were to start on our march the next morning, 
and in the evening amused ourselves by visiting the 
Dyak houses. We were all particularly struck by 
their kindly bearing — loading us with presents, and 
very desirous of making themselves agreeable. In one 
house, while we were sitting and listening more than 
talking, as few of our party could enter into familiar 
conversation in their language, one young fellow 
brought us a present of some fowls, and holding a 
white one by the legs, he waved it over our heads, 
repeating words of friendship and lasting peace be- 
tween us. This is a common custom at their feasts^ 
and is supposed to conduce to good and friendly 
feeling, and to prevent either party from quarrelling 
and fighting. 

The morning opened clear, without a cloud, when 
all parties prepared themselves for the marcL As 
soon as I was ready with the Lingga division, we 


assembled under the shade of a large tree. The three 
old Malay chiefs that accompanied my party, were 
objects for a picture. They had dressed themselves in 
thickly-quilted mattrass jackets and hats, which are 
very heavy, but supposed to be a protection against 
spears and Sumpit arrows. But their weight in 
walking, after rain, or when soaked with perspiration, 
must interfere a good deal with their usefulness in 
other respects. Each man had his sword and gun, or 
spear. The Dyaks are all armed with swords^ and 
five or six spears, some of iron, others only of pointed 
strips of the hardest part of the palms. Shields of 
different breadths, to protect the body, were made of 
very light wood, woven together with rattans, to prevent 
their falling to pieces in the event of their being split. 
The Sakarang Dyaks, however, again formed the 
gayest part of our force — ^for bright and varied colours 
were everywhere distinguishable. But, in addition to 
their native costume, some wore soldiers' jackets, and 
many other incongruous mixtures, such as shakoes, 
or large white ' tufts for epaulettes, making their 
appearance ridiculous in the extreme. Our path led 
principally through old farming grounds, but for the 
first few miles there were only felled trees to walk on, 
over a low marshy swamp. This style of walking is 
particularly irksome to a heavy, stiff-jointed European, 


wearing shoes. Some of the trunks were a con- 
siderable height above ground, and a fall from them 
would be unpleasant, when loaded with pouches full 
of ammunition, and carrying heavy rifles as well as 
revolvers. Such marching would be an impossibility 
to troops, with their knapsacks, provisions, and cum- 
brous accoutrements. One of our small party had to 
return, as he found this monkeyish travelling too much 
for his nervous system — falling oflf repeatedly about 
every six steps ; ultimately, he gave it up as a bad 
business. The rest of us managed pretty well, and 
when past these walking-sticks, we came out on hilly, 
open farming ground, with a piercing mid-day sun 
shining on our heads. However, the distance was not 
great, and early in the afternoon we came to a halt in 
a long empty house, lately vacated by Sakarang Dyaks 
who had been enemies. There were no peculiarities 
to be remarked in the country of to-day. The back- 
bone high hiUs were yet some miles away. In the 
morning there was a council of war held on the 
ground, where all such grave debates are discussed ; a 
running, stream was passing between two hiUs, and 
our concourse was assembled on the sides of each. I 
sat in the background, listening to what passed, and I 
knew enough of the language to follow the thread of 
the discourse pretty accurately. The spokesmen on 

TOL, r. I 


the native side were Malay, Dyak, and Sakarang 
chiefs, who knew the country and the business in hand 
better than any one else. They represented the force 
accompanying the expedition as too numerous to make 
an attack on a Dyak enemy of only one long house, 
and thought it better that the Sarawak part of it, with 
the Europeans (who, they concluded, were not much 
accustomed to walk over such a country), should 
remain quietiy where they were, and permit the active 
part of the body to advance under the direction of the 
Sakarang leader. This arrangement was finally agreed to. 
The party were to start the next morning, and leave 
us in the lurch in a dull spot bedded with long grass. 
We despatched another party to the boat for provisions. 
The fighting division started, and we slept all day, 
or wandered listlessly about, not much pleased at 
the turn matters had taken, as we little dreamt of 
any resistance now from an enemy. At night we had 
an alarm in the camp ; it was the first I had witnessed 
of the kind. Sounds first arose from the people who 
were on the outer part of our circle, and lying on the 
ground. The din gradually increased ; then there 
were yells, accompanied by moans and groans^ until 
the whole force was a living mass of turmoil and 
noise, exasperation and confusion — seizing their arms^ 
firing muskets off" in any and every direction, holding 


spear-staffs in hurling position^ mnch to the detriment 
of their nearest neighbour's eyes. Then there was 
tapping of liie shield, to excite men to brave acts, 
and waving of swords by people dancing madly about 
in menacing attitudes. In such scenes the aged and 
experienced chiefs try to restore order, but in doing so 
they often only make more noise than the others. 
Oitt party of white men were looking eagerly on from 
the house, with arms ready to encounter the most 
ferocious enemy. None, however, appeared, and the 
sounds gradually melted away, peace and sleep again 
resuming their sway. It was at least a little excite- 
ment, and only proved what an excessive noise a large 
party of fools can make. Late in the afternoon of the 
third day, when we anxiously awaited the return of the 
advanced division, our outposts first of all dejscried two 
or three small parties of Dyats, evidently of our force, 
wending their way slowly over hill and dale. On th^ 
nearer approach, we plainly saw wounded carried by 
them. This sight caused an extra anxiety among our 
party. The wounded heroes passed on direct for home. 
Whispers spread — ^gradually and quietly, at first, but 
they soon became more distinct — ^that our party had 
failed. In the evening the chiefs arrived, and came for- 
ward to report progress, looking haggard, thin, and ex- 
hausted. The story was as follows : they had walked at a 



fast pace the whole of the first day over the steepest hills, 
sometimes without any path^ and the guides at a non- 
plus for the proper direction ; fix)m morning till night 
they had scarcely halted, under a scorching sun, and 
parched with thirst, without any hope of water. At 
night, by moonlight, they pushed on again^ imtil they 
nearly fell fix)m exhaustion, when they slept in any 
position with their arms on. While in this situation a 
panic arose among them, and some of the Dyaks while 
closing with each other, fell oJ0F a declivity and did not 
recover themselves till late the following day. About 
3 A.M. they again advanced, and at the opening of 
dawn the most active Dyaks reaching the enemy's 
house, advanced upon it without order, and as the 
leaders were mounting the ladder, they were struck ojff 
one after another by hundreds of men inside, dressed 
in fighting costume, and headed by the whole of the 
chiefs of Saribus, men heretofore on every occasion, on 
land, victorious. Our poor leaders had to retire to 
guard their wounded and dying, while the enemy were 
yeUing, cheering, and beating gongs ; and even their 
women, dressed in their best clothes, were clapping 
their hands, and urging their sweethearts to the en- 
counter. As the sun arose, some of the strongest of the 
Malay force came up within shot, and took up their 
quarters behind trunks of trees, and opened fire upon 


the house; this stopped the cljeering within, but in 
no way daunted the enemy. About an hour after, our 
elderly chiefs came up, viewed the house of the enemy, 
sat down on the hill-side in a sheltered position, and 
were so exhausted that children might have hacked 
their heads oflf. They stopped all advance of their 
party, and while the oldest chiefs were suffering 
severely from fatigue, a palaver was opened, the result 
being that some of them came down, mixed with our 
people, then partook of sirih and betel nut in a friendly 
manner, and promised to show our party the nearest 
way back, and provide them with provisions for their 
journey. On their part, they engaged to be answer- 
able for the payment of a Pati Niawa, or " a fine for 
death," for the men they had kiUed some months pre- 
viously. And thus ended this glorious encounter, 
much to our credit as peaceably-disposed people. 

We lost a gallant chief of the Undup tribe, and 
some others. The guides had been severely wounded, 
and all were savage in the extreme. The enemy 
behaved in a most polite and chivalric maimer ; their 
tone was, "You have all made a great mistake in 
coming, but we are above taking a mean advantage of 
it ; we escort you for the purpose of placing you in 
the proper road for returning as quickly as possible.*' 
Old.Pa Dendang had heard of our advance since the 


time of our deparfcore from Sakarang, had then sounded 
his gongs, and been reinforced by all the bravest men 
from Saribus, the principal leaders of every head- 
hunting expedition on the coast. 

We had shown a fatal want of discretion in the 
whole aflFair : no trustworthy guides, no inquiry of the 
enem/s position respecting the Saribus Dyaks known 
to be hostile to us, a heedless hurrying on widiout 
plan or order, — a dead failure, with loss of life, being 
the consequence. We returned home with feelings 
that can be better imagined than described. The 
Dyaks said, " birds and dreams had been 'angat' (hot), 
consequently bad ;" the Malays said, "if they had only 
been there, the result would have been different ;" and 
Europeans said — ^nothing. 

Mat/y 1854. — A disastrous and shameful attack was 
made by a party of Batang Lupar Dyaks, in Sar&wak 
territory, on a house of Bugau Dyaks under Dutch 
jurisdiction ; the attack was made while the men were 
absent at their farms. Thirty women and children 
were killed and taken captive. I sent letters to re- 
quest that the offenders should be brought to justice 
and severely punished, as weU as deprived of the 
captives. A fine was demanded, but our means of 
supporting the demand were small and inadequate, 
and the Dyaks consulted their time and convenience 


in makiiig the payments. Patience was the order of 
the day, and our steps were slow though sure ; and 
any precipitation in furthering the ends of justice 
would only have endangered our lives and those of our 

Some months subsequentiy, when I was living in 
Sakarang, I obtained two of these captives, named 
Bungun and Luyau. When brought to the fort they 
wept, and one declared he would poison Idmself if he 
was not permitted to return ; but I understood that 
they had been pruned with what to say, and had been 
led to believe that they would suflfer death in my 
hands. One little fellow, on being left, jumped from 
the top of the wall into the moat, which was full of 
spikes, but fortunately he received no injury, and was 
brought back. I had engaged to detain them for one 
month, at the end of which they should return to their 
Dyak masters if they chose. The boys soon dried 
their tears and took up their quarters with me ; I gave 
them thirty slips of paper to count the days by throw- 
ing one away every morning ; they behaved very well, 
and examined aU my belongings with considerable 
interest, saying they had never seen or heard of any 
such things before. The casting away of the paper 
lasted five consecutive mornings, when they forgot all 
about the time, and were happy, calling me " Apai '" 


— Father. Their great amusement was lookmg at 
pictures; and a volume of "Punch" afforded them 
endless conversation. I grew to be very fond of one, 
Bungim, who was a particularly nice, thoughtful lad ; 
the other was a pickle. After the first fortnight they 
would not hear of returning to the people who, they 
said, had killed so many of their relations. After 
living three months with me, happy and contented, 
Bungun's father came to fetch him. I was loth to 
lose the boy, who had become quite a companion ; he 
told me when leaving, " we shall not forget you, but 
soon come again.'' Ten years after, in 1863, the same 
two paid me a visit, and on their entrance into my 
sitting-room embraced me with every sign of affection. 
They had grown into fine men, but were otherwise 
very little altered, and I inamediately recognised them, 
as they did all the old furniture in my room, pointing 
-directly to the picture of the Rajah, to the rugs they 
had used as beds, and to two heads cast in plaster. 
They sp^nt three days with me on that occasion. I 
felt I possessed an influence around any place where 
those two lads lived, for Dyaks are not ungrateful, 
although generally undemonstrative. 

A large expedition had been preparing for some 
^weeks in Sar&wak, to make a deliberate attack in 
the interior of Sakarang, where Rentap was gradually 


obtajBing a more dangerous influence ; and little could 
be done with any of the suirounding Dyaks so long 
as these rebellious ones were holding out against the 

August^ 1854. — The Eajah, in company with the 
Europeans^ arrived and proceeded to Sabirang, myself 
accompanying them ; the force was very large^ and all 
in fine boats, well armed, and equipped in every article 
and munition. The pomp and panoply of war were 
displayed in various ways, and all took pride in them- 
selves. When all the things were served out, and the 
commissariat properly arranged, we started, and made 
way as &r as Entaban, where a great conference was to 
be held. The large boats left, as they could not be 
taken farther, and our whole* force went to work to 
cut down jungle and make a large clearance, after 
which fortifications were erected, with a house for the 
Bajah, who intended remaining here, and sending the 
force on in charge of Mr. Brooke Brooke. 

The conference, as usual, was held on the ground: 
first of all the Rajah addressed them in a few words, 
telling them our enemies were numerous up the river, 
and he trusted to his people to attack and defeat 
them. Panglima Seman then passionately exclaimed, 
*^ that he was ready with all his heart, and if he took 
captives he wished to be permitted to keep them as 


slaves." Next the great question to be settled wsb, 
our mode of advancing^ as to the roads and means of 
getting up to the enemy. This was discussed very fully 
by all parties, and we finally arranged that one half 
of the force should go by land and the other by water, 
there not being a sufficient number of suitable boats to 
carry the whole party. We were all well and in excel- 
lent spirits, except Mr. Brereton, who remained in his 
boat, owing to sickness. The next morning at an 
early hour, all was bustle in cooking and preparing, 
and we trusted to the calculating genius of Mr. Spenser 
St. John to arrange our commissariat, and he deserved 
great credit for the foresight displayed in this im- 
portant department. 

The Sakarang force kept to boats, while we plodded 
over the banks, sometimes in good clear paths among 
fruit-trees, and then again over the most rugged places. 
We had Dyak guides, and could not have proceeded 
without them. Our land force consisted mostly of 
Malays, and numbered about 500 men ; about four in 
the afternoon we halted on the brink of the river, and 
prepared to spend the night, with a stockade around. 
This was in the enemy's country, although there were 
many people living near, who were neither the one thing 
nor the other. The following morning we proceeded 
again in the same order, but before mid-day many of our 


party were quite exhausted, and there was really no 
road to follow but the muddy banks of the river, so we 
halted, and after our mid-day meal it was decided 
we were all to crowd in with our floating force. And 
thus we pushed on, but in a most comfortless condition 
with regard to space. We spent the night at Tabbat, 
and fortified ourselves here also. My subsequent 
experience of the localities has proved that we should 
never have reached our destination on- foot, keeping 
company with the boats. This, the Sakaxang Malays 
were perfectly aware of at the time, and in consequence 
they kept to their boats. Dyaks might have 
walked it in ten days, but with Europeans and Malays 
(many of whom felt the first da/s fatigue) it was 
simply impossible. On the fourth day we spied the 
enem/s position, situated on a hill cleared of all old 
jungle, and showing recent preparations of defence 
around their dwellings. Our heavy armament con- 
sisted of four and three pounder guns and rocket 

The enemy showed no opposition outside, and 
after marching about four miles, we arrived at a 
hill in their vicinity. It was a fiery hot morning, 
without a cloud, and the hills, though low, were very 
precipitous. The Europeans kept near the guns, to 
assist in their progress up the steeps, and when we 


were mounting the last rising ground, on which the 
enemy was fortified, we found some of the leaders of 
our force had foolishly advanced too near, and a few 
had been killed and wounded, and were now being 
carried to the rear. The enemy had two long houses 
on the ridge of a hill, surrounded by steep ground, 
excepting at the end. Here high stakes were driven 
into the earth, and around all a firm and thick stockade. 
The 4-pounder gun was mounted after considerable 
delay, and when the rocket tube was in place, we 
opened fire on one end, while the 3-pounder played 
away on the other. The enemy answered our fire 
pretty briskly with their Lelahs. We could see the 
men rushing to and fro covered by their shields, also 
parties dancing to the music of gongs. Some of their 
voices we heard distinctly, saying they would never 
succumb to the tight-breeched men (white men) or to 
any other strangers. Mr. Crookshank (at considerable 
risk) took charge of the rockets, which were of ancient 
make, and a few that were fired entered the fort and 
did great execution, but the majority whizzed round 
and roimd, and sometimes lodged in the ground among 
our own party ; we were all more afraid of these 
missiles than anything the enemy could produce. 
Early in the afternoon there was a commotion among 
them, and we could discern women and children 


leaving on the opposite side of the hill, but the men 
still stood fast and kept to their posts. Our old 
Fanglima (warrior) was biding his time, for he yet 
knew that he might lead, but others would not follow. 
He worked steadily and quietly, amid many jeers fix)m 
some of our own native party, who asked why the 
warrior did not make an advance : his reply between 
his teeth was — "your words are more thad your 
deeds.'' The surrounding hills, all along the edges of 
the old jungle, were lined with men dressed in red 
jackets. They had come from all parts of the interior, 
and were waiting to see which party would prove 
victorious. If we had retreated, they were ready to 
molest us, and cut oflf as many as they could, and they 
were quite beyond the reach of any injury from us. 
As the sun drew near to the horizon, the Panglima 
moved up to the enemy's stockade, silently opened the 
palisade, and after a moment's peep, jumped in, followed 
by others, who gave a loud cheer and drew their 
swords. The enemy finding a lodgment had been made 
inside, immediately took to their heels, and fled down 
the hill. 

We followed in, close on the leaders ; the entrance 
was so narrow, that many received severe contusions 
when passing through. About fifty or sixty of the 
enemy were tearing away over the open ground. 


covering their bodies with their shields. Now arose 
a dreadful scene of confusion and uproar, which lasted 
till night, and we were glad to find a small nook where 
we could dine and sleep with moderate comfort. The 
night was so cold as to keep me awake for the greater 
part of it With the next morning came the dis- 
agreeable work of persuading the men to cany back 
the guns and their paraphernalia. We heard in the 
course of the day, that Rentap and his followers had 
retired to a stronghold about half way up the moun- 
tain of Sadok which loomed in the distance. Our force 
was in too disturbed a state to make any organised 
attack, so after making a circuit of devastation for a 
few miles, we went down the river. So ended the 
attack on Sungei Lang, which was successful, as a com- 
mencement in bringing the up-river inhabitants into 
subjection. We found, on rejoining the Rajah, that 
many reports had been spread of our defeat and death. 
In passing down towards Sakarang, we met with 
several narrow escapes, as the river had been much 
swollen by continued rains, and rendered our posi- 
tion very unenviable, four of us being crammed into 
a goodnsized box, minus the lid. This was a sort 
of cabin for the Nakoda of the boat ; in our case we 
were forced to sit with our knees up to our chins ; 
however, the fresh carried us down at a great pace. 


We stopped for some hours at one spot, until it some- 
what subsided, as trees were now in the water, and one 
touch would have capsized us, in which case we should 
probably have all been drowned. 

After joining the Bajah, we returned to our several 
comfortable boats, and glided down to the upper 
Sakarang fort, where we landed and slept one night, 
after spending a merry evening. Many houses that 
we passed resounded with the monotonous wail of woe 
over relations killed in the late action, and others 
again were yelling with joy, and beating all their 
musical instruments. There was one poor old woman, 
lying not far from us, weeping in the most distressing 
manner for the loss of her husband, who died from 
wounds immediately after his entrance into the house* 
We condoled with her, but to no eflfect. She seemed 
inconsolable, and continued to evince her grief by 
groaning violently. One of our party offered her a 
glass of brandy, and within five minutes she calmly 
sunk iato sleep. On the return of the expedition, 
dysentery broke out, and many deaths ensued. Among 
those who succumbed was our much-lamented friend 
and brother officer, Mr. Brereton, who had been unwell 
for some time previous to the attack on Sungei Lang. 
Many other Europeans suffered severely, and the 
natives declared the enemy had poisoned us all ; but 


this was certainly not the case. Extra exposure to 
cold, heat, and wet was doubtless the cause ; for often 
we slept in hard rains, and on awaking in the morn- 
ing found pools of water had collected on our rugs. 
It had been settled that no other land expedition of 
the Idnd was to be again organised, there being too 
much risk to the lives of Europeans to be encountered 
both from the enemy and the climate of the interior. 

During my many quiet hours at Lingga, I really 
believe few of God's creatures could have eaten his own 
heart as I did. I even welcomed the coming of an 
old Dyak woman (without a tooth in her head) to be 
my companion. But at many other times, when the 
people were not employed at their farms, they would 
arrive by tens and twenties, with each ebb tide, and 
bring all their cases of debt and quarrelling to me for 
settlement. There happened, among the Dyaks, a case 
of Taboo or "XJlit," as the Dyaks call it. The wife of 
a man had lately died, and the husband, without going 
through the proper modes, after a month, took unto 
himself another wife, and so gave great offence to the 
people around. However, as the delinquent had 
powerful relations, he declined any payment for acting 
contrary to custom. Properly speaking, he should 
have given a feast in the first instance, and afterwards 
awaited the arrival of an enemy's head, by which the 

"ULIT." 129 

spirits of death would have been appeased. The 
chie& brought the complaint of this man^s disobedience 
to me ; and on hearing the pros and cons, one good- 
natured old chief exclaimed, " What matters ! let us 
foUow the customs of the white men, who are never 
• Ulit"' However, as the majority of the party were 
for the support of their forefathers' customs, I sided 
with them, and the man was punished according to 
Dyak law, and had to pay one fowl, one pig, and 
a small piece of iron. In a subsequent conversation on 
the subject of this " Ulit" (which has led to so much 
trouble in New Zealand), I begged the chiefs would 
seriously think of timing the mourning of any parties 
who lost relations by death; by this method they 
would not require the heads of enemies to open 
*' Ulit.^ I asked them fix)m what part they could 
obtain heads after all their enemies had been con^ 
quered. This view of the matter, however, did not 
meet with their approval, nor with any very favour- 
able result in their minds* Most of them remarked, 
'* What say the multitude ? " For they have a great 
respect for established modes among themselves. 

I gradually made many friends among the people, 
particularly the female part of the community. I 
soon learnt that great power and influence attached 
to their opinions on matters in general, and that to 


stand well with tliem was more than half any Dyak 

A boat of Lingga Chinamen, on returning ficom 
Sarawak, had mysteriously disappeared about six 
weeks ago, and I had concluded she had been 
swamped or driven oflF the coast under stress of 
weather. I, however, have now received a much more 
probable report A party of Saribus Dyaks, who were 
in Sardwak at the time, had studiously followed in 
the wake of this boat, after finding she possessed 
a valuable cargo, and while the Chinamen were 
anchored in a small uninhabited stream, the Dyaks 
crept iato the boat, cut all their heads ofiT, and earned 
the cargo and boat into Saribus. The party who per- 
petrated this deed lived far in the interior, up a 
branch stream named TabalaiL It was hopeless at 
that time to seek for redress, although the poor rela- 
tions and friends of the five deceased complained most 
bitterly. We were powerless in Saribus^ and no 
trustworthy or honest men could live in such a 
hornets' nest. I took a careful note of this proceeding; 
resolving to punish the ofienders on a future day, when 
hope assured me we should have the head hunters 
more fully within our grasp. 

Ab has already been mentioned, the most influential 
and distinguished of the Lingga population were two 


old Malay ladies, who had held tiie goveniment here 
for many years. When I first arrived they paid me 
frequent visits, and their powers of conversation were 
so hopelessly unlimited, as to become extremely dis* 
agreeable and tedious ; occasional naps being the only 
relief during their stay. On re-awaking every time, 
their tongues were invariably moving ; and whether 
awake or asleep, it was quite immaterial to them. 

Their remarks generally had reference to the people 
on the coast, on whom they made sweeping claims 
as slaves and followers, to the number of many 
thousands. In fact, they led one to suppose the whole 
country belonged to them, with every one in it These 
old lasses, however, were not without some sterling 
qualities besides the tongue: for on mc^e than one 
occasion, when the Saribus forces had been making an 
attack on Banting, they were to be seen dressed in 
men^s clothes, with swords and spears in hand, com** 
mancling the people, and working as hard as any of 
them. But they were only endurable while such 
disturbed times lasted. And now the day had 
arrived when their tether was to be sadly curtailed. 
Such tyranny as they were in the habit of displaying 
could no longer be permitted. They practised the 
blackest arts for the purpose of ga&ering into their 
net everybody for whom they had a fimcy. They first 


of all aaked them to their house, and then provided 
the means of detention, under a pretext of their having 
committed some overt act, for which they were to be 
fined. The consequence was, that they were after- 
wards slave debtors, who when males, married some of 
their women, and vice versd. The children of these 
marriages would in future augment their following. 

This was only one of their female eccentricities. 
The head man of the place had died a few months 
before my arrival, and xnany of the inhabitants went 
so far as to declare he had been poisoned by these old 
vixens. His little son had become my prot^g6. When 
first brought to me on his mother's back, he looked as if 
he were not likely to remain long in this world, and there 
was a suspicion that he was to be removed quietly from 
the scene, as he had a right to a few slaves, as well as 
some goods, all of which had been seized and purloined 
by these avaricious dames. The son soon recovered, and 
has been my steady follower for the ten years since, 
during which he has never shown ingratitude for a 
most providential escape out of the hands of his ene- 
naies at lingga. It would have been impossible to 
defend his rights against them. Even with grown up 
individuals it required more than ordinary power of 
intellect and courage. Several respectable natives 
were obliged to quit the country owing to quarrels 


with these female chiefs, and a refusal to participate 
in their dishonest proceedings. I remained on good 
terms with them so long as no actually flagrant event 
arose to bring us into collision. When settling any 
cases, I refused to have them present, or to acknow- 
ledge their authority. Ere many months had elapsed, 
some of the victims' stories had found their way 
to my ears. In many cases they were too brutal to 
be related, for it was the worst kind of slavery I 
have known before or since in these countries. In 
fact, it was quite exceptional, and not the rule. A 
trivial matter was the means of opening the first 
fire. A woman, who had been a follower of theirs, 
came to me with a baby in arms, that was suffering 
severely fix)m sore eyes. Having some medicine at 
hand, I was enabled to afford relief to the little crea- 
ture ; this was repeated for several days, until the 
mother became more confident and accustomed to visit 
me in my solitary abode. On one occasion, in the course 
of conversation, she told me in confidence, two women 
would give anything to relate their grievances to me. 
Both, when children, had been made captives fix)m the 
Saribus river, now many years ago — ^since that time 
they had been living as slaves, and treated with every 
kind of harshness and severity, without hope of any 
change for the better. "One," she said, **had been 


sent up the river that morning, because she had re- 
fased to be sold into a trader's hands, and for wishing 
to bring a complaint to me ; the other was guarded in 
the house, and had been beaten and otherwise treated 
in a shameful way/' After hearing this, I sought to 
ascertain the truth of the speaker's statement, and 
made inquiry whether the woman had been offered for 
sale ; there was little doubt qbout it, as, when the 
inquiry was being made, the woman in question was 
going out of the river in a stranger boat, having been 
dragged from her hiding-place and forcibly taken on 
board the prahu, which was bound for a distant place 
on the coast. I sent a force after them, and brought 
back the unfortunate, with an infant in arms ; and the 
day after the chiefs were assembled, and the other 
woman summoned from Dang Ajar^s house. Now the 
chain of the ladies' power was to be snapped asunder. 
The chiefs heard the woman's story. She said that 
'^only two mornings ago, her mistress, while in a fit of 
jealousy, because her husband had shown her some 
trivial marks of attention and kindness, had stood over 
her with a large stick, threatening to strike her over 
the head if she did not swallow some most offensive 
and filthy mixture," which was held in a cocoa-nut 
shell by this she-devil. The result was, the poor girl 
was forced to swallow it. She showed her head, with 


half the hair torn out, and all wounded and scarred. 
I fireed both on the spot, and made known, that who- 
ever molested them for the future would incur a fine. 
The old ladies I heard were furious, and I was cautioned 
not to partake of any firuit or sweets they might present 
to me, and not to drink water drawn from my usual 
drinking well, about which they had made some suspi- 
cious inquiries. Before two months were over, ten 
men and women, on whom they had no claim what- 
ever, were released from their clutches. They threat- 
ened to leave Lingga, and some of their staunchest 
friends and supporters said, " it would be better to eat 
dirt than live anywhere in the vicinity of a white 
man.** After a short time their anger subsided, and 
the old ladies then sought occupation in studying 
Mahomedan scriptures — ^repeating their prayers re- 
gularly seven times daily. In this edifying and 
delightftd manner they stUl pass their time. 


Sakarang — First Byak case — Dyak memory— Letters— Sandom's 
oocupatioii— His stealth — ^Alarm — Graying for head hunting — 
Mode of stoppage— Collection of heads— Ponishment — Aing^s 
value — Beducing a Dyak to reason — Quarrel and life taken — 
Heavy fine — Its efficacious result — ^Dyak peccadillo— The fetther 
suffers for the daughter — Grave decision — ^Assault of alligator — 
Superstitious modes — ^Feasts— Mukah massacre — Buins — Braiun 
— Amicable encounter — Soliloquy — ^A peace concluded — Sarika 
Port — ^Fever and ague — ^Dyak social economy — ^Female sinners 
— ^Murders at Kaluka — ^Yisit of young ladies— An insects' nest 
— ^Preparation for inland attack — ^Eajulan expedition — Conference 
— ^Unlucky accident — Stoppage of communication — Journal of 
incidents — Bapids— Dilatoriness — Council of war— Dyak devils — 
An unpleasant Mend^Our march— Old jungles— Bivouack — 
Native kindliness — Continued old jungles — ^Betreat of enemy — 
Vacated houses — Burning of houses — ^Plunder — Dangerous inci- 
dent — ^Devastation completed — ^Homeward march — ^An 4^arm — 
Unpleasant spectacle — Sa^ji's vaunt — ^Betum home — ^Dyak con- 
version to Islamism — ^Arrival of Chinese gold workers — Oaves — 
-Accident— Orang Kaya's grief— Dyak observations. 

Vctoher, 1854. — I was now appointed to the com- 
mand of the whole Batang Lupar district, the head- 
quarters of which were at the Sakarang Fort, lately 
occupied by Mr. Brereton. On taking charge I felt a 
deep melancholy for some days, whije living among, 
and viewing,v the many relics of my departed friend. 


The natives were mucli attached to him, and felt his 
death with no ordinary degree of grief — ^more par- 
ticularly those who were immediately around the fort. 
To a few chiefs he left all his effects; a mark of 
affection which has served as a lasting memento in the 
mind of the people. The land about the fort was not 
sufficiently drained or cleared for European constitu- 
tions^ and I beUeve this had much to do with his many 
ailments — the country round being without roads. 
The only mode of taking exercise was to wade knee 
deep in mire. Though the place did not appear un- 
healthy, fevers and ague were more prevalent here 
than at Lingga^ the sea-water not reaching so far as 
Sakarang at jBood tide. After my arrival I threw my 
doors open to the public, more particularly to the 
Dyaks, and from morning to night my apartments 
were crowded witii men, women, and children, with 
whom I soon became personally acquainted. By this 
means I daily gained new stores of their language. 
My arrival at Sakarang had the effect of bringing tiie 
Lingga and Sakarang Dyaks together ; but there was 
anything but love existing between them, and when 
apart, they abused each other most spitefully. 

My first Dyak case in the country was brought by 
a band, who complained of having had the whole of 
their goods seized from their rooms while they were 


absent at their fanns ; and on making inquiry, I found 
this abstraction had taken place because a pig had been 
stolen by the complainants' father forty years before. 
The palaver among themselves took place in a Chinese 
house, and the arguments for and against lasted five 
days, the discussion being frequently carried on till 
day-break. The case, still not being settled, was 
brought to me frar final arrangement. 

I always found the plan most likely to answer 
was to permit the Dyaks to settle their disputes them- 
selves, if possible, and upon their failing to do so, to 
bring them into my court, on the understanding that no 
word should be spoken after judgment had been passed 
by me. It may appear summary and despotic, but is 
very eflfectual, and in a country which contains so 
many varied customs, the administering of justice 
must necessarily differ entirely from the mode which 
prevails in a civilised community. We held a long 
conference with reference to half-and-half friends and 
enemies on the Sakarang waters who had not assisted 
us in making the attack on Sungie Lang, and who, 
moreover, had prepared to act against us, if the expe- 
dition had not been attended by succesa Each 
country was noted with the chiefs name and number 
of followers, and an adequate fine, according to Dyak 
custom, was arranged to be paid as a token of haii 


hath (good heart). There were in all thirty different 
villages from which fines of diflferent amounts were 
to be demanded, and in the event of a refusal to pay, 
they would be declared enemies, and not allowed to 
trade in salt, &c. The Malay force did not dare 
proceed up the river without being largely reinforced 
from other countries, and for some time I was deli- 
berating in what manner I could despatch the necessary 
information and demands to the chiefs of these villages. 
One Dyak, who was a proved friend, came to 
me to receive instructions, and I fully expected it 
would have taken three or four days before he could 
learn all the particulars by heart, as they have no 
means of distinguishing marks or letters. I com- 
menced the lesson, with my imperfect knowledge of 
the Dyak language, and was surprised how wonder- 
ftilly acute his mind was, and how strong his memory. 
He brought a few dry leaves, which he tore into 
pieces; these I exchanged for paper, which served 
better. He arranged each piece separately on a table, 
and used his fingers in counting as well, until he 
reached ten, when he lifted his foot on the table, and 
took each toe to accord with each bit of paper answer- 
ing to the name of a village, name of chief, number 
of followers, and amount of fine ; after having finished 
with his toes he returned to his fingers again, and 


when my list was completed, I counted forty-five bits 
of paper arranged on the table ; he then asked me to 
repeat them once more, which I did, when he went 
over the pieces, his fingers, and toes as before. 
" Now," he said, " this is our kind of letter ; you white 
men read differently to us." Late in the evening he 
repeated them all correctly, placing his finger on each 
paper, and then said, "Now, if I recoUect them to- 
morrow morning it will be all right, so leave these 
papers on the table ;" after which he mixed them aU 
in a heap. The first thing in the morning he and I 
were at the table, and he proceeded to arrange the 
papers as on the evening before, and repeated the 
particulars with complete accuracy ; and for nearly 
a month after, in going round the villages, far in the 
interior, he never forgot the different amounts, A;c. 

This was an original character named "Sandom/' 
whose brother had been murdered by " Eentap," under 
circumstances which appear in Mr. Spencer St. John's 
book. I presented Sandom with a rupee, when he 
aaked me the use of it, and whether it would pur- 
chase padi. A very few years later he was an active 
trader, and gained considerable riches; but at this 
time he was a determined molester of the enemy, 
and, in his foraging excursions, would go with only 
one follower in a small boat light enough to carry on 


their shoulders. The weight of it together with all 
the articles they took with them, could not have 
exceeded a few pounds. Proceeding by night and 
hiding aU day, they would enter an enemy's country, 
and wait within a few yards of their houses, or some- 
times underneath, listening to aU that passed, and 
gaining information of what they were doing. This 
was Sandom's special delight and occupation; but he 
very seldom came to blows with any of them. He 
loved the roaming over the mountains and valleys 
which he had been in the habit of looking upon as his 
own country, and with every part of which he was 
well acquainted. Had he been caught by the enemies, 
he would most omdoubtedly have shared the same fate 
as his brother, who was dragged down a hill, and 
then had his heart torn out by Rentap. On one 
occasion Sandom with one follower proceeded to a 
distant river, about 150 miles off by land, passing 
through many enemies' countries, and more than once 
he spoke to them at night, leaving them in the dark 
as to who he was. He obtained three jars of con- 
siderable value from the back part of a long Dyak 
house, and brought these heavy articles all the way 
home, with a numerous enemy on his track. He was 
exceedingly thin when he arrived, and much scratched 
and wounded by his jungle travelling. He brought 


me one jar, of the value of 12?., saying, "that one is 
your division, the remainder I keep for myself/' It is 
a custom that a portion of all plimder should be paid 
to the Gk)venunent, so I kept this, and in the suc- 
ceeding year, while a dangerous dispute was being 
carried on between Sandom and another powerful 
chief, the jar came in very opportunely for settling the 
matter amicably between them. 

There had been as many as five alarms in one 
month. The enemy was said to be out in search 
of our people's heads, and on such occai^ons the sounds 
of gongs reverberated from one house to another, 
until the whole country was in a commotion, and men 
rushed to their boats with their armS) and pulled in 
the direction of the first sounds of the gongs. How- 
ever, in most cases> after an ineflFectual searqh for a 
day or so, they aU quietly xetumed home. 

Our Dyaks were eternally requesting to be allowed 
to go for heads> and their urgent entreaties often bore 
resemblance to children cr3dng after sugar-plums. 
My head Malay chief — a most trusty man, Abang 
Aing — had generally to bear the brunt erf these in- 
comers, and for more than a year they were a 
continual pest Often parties of four And five would 
get away to the countries of Bugau and Kantu in ike 
vicinity of the Kapuaa liver, whose inhabitants are not 


80 warlike as the Sakarang and Saribus Dyaks. As soon 
as e^^er one of these parties started, or even listened 
to birds of omen preparatory to moving, a party was 
immediately despatched by Government to endeavour 
to cut them off, and to fine them heavily on their 
return, or, in the event of their bringing heads, to 
demand the delivering up of them, and the payment 
of a fine into the bargain. This was the steady and 
imflinching work of years, but before many months 
were over my stock of heads became numerous, and 
the fines considerable. Some refused to pay, or follow 
the directions of Government ; these were declared 
enemies, and had 'their houses burnt down forthwith, 
and the people who followed me to do the work, 
would be Dyaks of somte other branch tribe in the 
same river. I found the support of the Lingga 
Dyaks came in useful in carrying out these stringent 
regulations : many of my own fiiends and earliest 
neighbours had to undergo the punishment and suffer 
shame, but they seldom resisted. 

Their acknowleged enemy was on Sadok, and when 
they asked for heads they were directed to seek for 
them there ; but Sadok was a high and very pre- 
cipitous mountain, and its inhabitants were brave, 
besides being connections of theirs. Consequently the 
more innocent and weaker Dyak tribes suffered, an^ 


had suffered for years previously. My great endea- 
vour was to put a stop to all promiscuous head 
hunting, and Abang Aing was invaluable in giving me 
his support. For hour after hour he would sit, and 
in a soothing voice and manner, urge the chiefe to 
restrain their people jGrom making such incursions into 
other countries. When his arguments were to no 
purpose, his final remark would be, " Well, you know 
I have warned you, and if you attempt anything of 
the sort, we have arms, powder, and shot ; therefore 
do as you think proper/' After the first six months 
many gave up the thoughts of making these excur- 
sions, and the work gradually lightened until the year 
1857, when the Dyaks broke out worse than ever. 

My feeling was from the first an intense interest in 
the people, and I could not very severely blame them 
for head-hunting. It was an old established custom 
of their forefathers, and they considered it their duty to 
xnaintain it. Nevertheless my business was to prevent 
it to the utmost^ and the only way of doing this 
effectually was by a strong hand and steady perse- 
verance. An olive branch held in one hand, and a 
broomstick in the other, was the method of rhyme and 
reason with such simple-minded beings. Besides, if 
these head-hunting parties had not been prohibited, 
they would have much increased, and our Dyaks^ 


having protection from the Gk)vemment fort and arms, 
would have been able to obtain heads with impunity, 
without any fear of retaliation. I led a party to bum 
down one of the principal Orang Kaya's houses, for 
disobeying Government orders in advancing in search 
of heads after he had been forbidden : this step made 
Abang Aing and many Malays feel great anxiety, but 
I took it as simply a matter of duty and justice to 
strike at the chiefs with greater severity than the lower 
class men. The culprit had been made an Orang Kaya 
by Mr. Brereton .two years previously, before a large 
audience in open court* I had reason to believe sub- 
sequently, that my stroke of poUcy in upsetting him 
had a great eflFect on the minds of the population, 
although it necessitated extra watchfulness for some 
months. The Dyaks followed me by hundreds, and 
after the flames of the house were glaring high above 
the old jungle trees, we retired in time to stop the 
advance of a large straggling force which was coming 
to assist us. In returning, some spears were thrown 
at my boat, but they fell astern and did no harm. 

An attack, only a few miles above the fort, took 
place between one village and another, in which one 
Dyak was shot. It happened thus : the upper party 
had planted Sirih creepers around their house, and had 
placed sharp bamboos near them for the purpose of 


wounding the feet of any enemies or thieves. A few 
men living lower down, while passing, plucked some 
of the leaves, at the same time spiking themselves very 
severely. In consequence of the pain, they drew their 
swords, hacked the wood of the house, and injured the 
plants. The day after, the higher party came down 
and retaliated, by hacking at the lower partjr's boats 
at the landing-place. The morning after. Si Jannah, 
the chief of those down the river, collected his fol- 
lowers, armed, and made a deliberate attack on the 
upper part/s house, notwithstanding that they were 
near relations ; he shot the chief himself, and besides 
this death many of both parties were wounded. The 
report soon reached the Fort, and on hearing it I 
despatched Aing, accompanied by a large force, with 
orders to inflict a fine of twelve rusa jars — ^nearly 2007. 
The inhabitants of the house fled to the jungle in the 
first instance, but after becoming hungry they returned 
and were himible ; the fine was paid immediately. 
The principal people who were to demand it, besides 
Aing, were other Dyak chiefs — one of whom, when he 
afterwards met me, said, . " I never heard of such a 
severe fine being imposed, and I never yet saw a fine 
so quickly paid down ; that is the quick way I like to 
see things done/' This amount of fine became pro- 
verbial, and a great assistance to Aing in his coaxings 


and reafionings. When one contemplated a quarrel or 
threatened to fight, it was, " Remember Jannah's twelve 
jars, the fine for killing ; and if you cannot pay, your 
life will have to answer." It was a great increase in 
the price of flesh and blood ; as heretofore 8?. had been 
the forfeit for committing murder, " or change of life," 
as they termed it. For years after this, Jannah was 
one of my best friends, and always most obliging in 
assisting in any work, for which he used to come and 
ask. The three subsequent years, he told me, his 
foams had yielded better harvests than he ever remem- 
bered ; and this he accounted for by his being a friend 
of the white man. 

A portion of these fines was always distributed to 
the remainder of the chiefs, both Dyak and Malay. 
This proved to them that they were not imposed for 
the sake of gain, or to satisfy any of that avariciousness 
on the part of Government which was so common 
under the Malayan rule. . And likewise the distribu- 
tion soon brought about a strong party who were on 
the qui mve to report any who went head-hunting, or 
acted contrary to regulati6ns. 

A case occurred at Banting which created much 
scandal among the higher circles of the Dyak com- 
mimity. The eldest daughter of one of the chiefs 
of a long house was found to be in a state of preg- 

L 2 


nancy, and according to the custom, this incident 
is not allowed to pass without considerable ado in 
bringing the father to acknowledge the paternity. 
The young lady elaimed a man of rank, but the 
young chief disowned any share in the business, and 
was ready to stand as a witness that a slave was the 
father of the coming child. This dispute occasioned 
many days' litigation, and in the long run the lady 
had to prove her accusation by diving against the 
man of rank. If the latter won he would thus prove 
that he was innocent, and the slave in fault. The dive 
came oflf amid hundreds of spectators, but the woman 
lost her claim on the young chief, who was generally 
considered to be innocent of the matter. The chiefs 
in council afterwards gave their opinions gravely : — 
•^'That the Almighty had decided the case with an 
omniscient power, and brought the proper father to 
light to answer for his sins/' The scandal and dis- 
grace caused the lady to flee inland to a distance, 
liand the old chief lost all his followers, who separated 
from him to seek another and more respectable leader, 
the sins of the child in these cases being visited upon 
the father. I saw the old man shortly after it hap- 
pened, and a greater picture of misery I never cast 
eyes on. T pitied him from my heart. Deserted by 
all, he left the country for a neighbouring river. 


When pulling in his small sampan a large alligator 
seized him, taking into his mouth the paddle at the 
same time ; a fearful wound was made in his side, but 
with the long paddle he was able to prise the beast's 
jaws open; the boat swamped, and the old fellow 
managed to crawl up the banks, where he lay in a 
state of insensibiKty imtU a passer-by picked him up. 

At certain seasons of the moon, just before and after 
the full, the Dyaks do not work at their farms ; and 
what with bad omens, sounds, signs, adverse dreams, 
and deaths, two-thirds of their time is not spent in 
farm labour. When they have a plentiful harvest, the 
greater part of the stock is used for giving different 
kinds of feasts. This is, of course, a dead waste ; and 
for the remainder of the year the inhabitants are badly 
oflf. The principal feast is for the head, — other minor 
ones take place, after the birth of children, the build- 
ing of a new house, the death of a near relation, and 
the giving of food to all the feathered tribe, and per- 
haps some others of which I have not heard. Many a 
time have strange visitors remarked what happy people 
the Dyaks must be, who farm and gain a livelihood 
with so little trouble, and are not pestered by irri- 
tating social conventionalities. But this is not true by 
any means. 

August, 1855. — I was surprised one day, while 


living in my very quiet bungalow, to see a small 
schooner make her appearance at the mouth of the 
river, and by her I received instructions to proceed to 
Mukah, for the purpose of strengthening the Eajah's 
force, when he called there on his way from Brunei 
Mukah was in a sad state of aaarchy and confosioii. 
Disturbances were of weekly occurrence. With a 
strong fair breeze we arrived there in two days, and 
were received with all honours, and a salute. This 
place is under the government of Brunei, which is 
equivalent to no government, or even worse than none 
at all. Their aim was aggrandizement, and their 
means simple rascality. A tragedy had lately been 
committed in this place, and as Mukah has much to 
do with my fnture operations, I will relate how it 
occurred. The acknowledged head man of the place 
was Pangeran Arsat, who was Brunei to the- back bone, 
and supported aU demands of officials coming feom 
his Highness the Sultan's dominion. He levied taxes 
and inflicted other oppressive measures upon the 
Mukah people, who were a hard-working set, but far 
behind the Dyaks in intelligence and advancement. 
Besides this Brunei Pangeran, there was one named 
Pangeran Mathusein, who had been brought up among 
the Mukah people, his mother being one of the Bomi 
-or working class, and his relations were very numerous. 


A feud had long been existing between these two 
Pangeians, both of whose houses were partially" for- 
tified^ though heretofore they had never come to an 
open rupture. 

Mathusein was an honest man^ and did not counter- 
nance the exorbitant demands made on the population^ 
but supported the latter against such injustice. On 
one occasion as Fangeran Mathusein was returning 
£rom the mouth, while going by Fangeran Arsat's 
house, some of the latter's relations and fcdlowers were 
brandishing arms and spears, aiid in other ways 
mocking Mathusein. He was impetuous and hot- 
headed, and he said, ^'Ifelt layhead in a blaze/' 
He forthwith rushed up to the house, cutting down 
Fangeran Arsat, wounding one oth^ man, and in the 
promiscuous cmslaught killed one of Arsat's daughters, 
and wounded another. He then returned, no <me 
daring to oppose him, as he was noted for his strength, 
and was acknowledged to be the best swordsman by 
far in the whole country. On reaching his house he 
strengthened his fortifications, and prepared for an 
attack. In the course of a month a large force had 
assembled in Mukah to avenge the death of Fangeran 
Arsat. The leader of it was Seriff Measahore, who had 
called out the Dyaks of Eiinowit and Saribus. They 
numbered more than a thousand, exclusive of Malays. 


They remained before Pangeran Mathusein's fortifica- 
tions for many days, during wliich time the party 
were playing sad havoc with the property of the 
inhabitants, who gave whatever was asked, and allowed 
their fruit-trees to be cut down without a word. The 
opposing forces frequently entered into conversation 
from the walls of their fortifications, and one day a 
promise was made by the Seriff Messahore that, if 
Mathusein would open his portals and come out, he 
and all his followers should go unmolested, be treated 
as friends and relations, and they would live together 
amicably. This was promised with the most binding 
oaths. Mathusein demurred for some time, but finally 
yielded to the entreaties of his own followers, and 
allowed the gates to be opened, and the people, men, 
women and children, to march out and surrender them- 
selves. He was to leave the house on the following 
morning. In the course of the night, one daring fellow 
from Seriff* Messahore's party made his way secretly 
into the presence of Mathusein, and urged him to fly 
immediately, as the next morning it would be too late, 
everything being prepared for his execution. The 
Pangeran buckled on his sword, and with six followers 
set off under the cloak of darkness, aqid made his way 
up into the Kayan country, whence he proceeded to 
Sar&wak, and there found safety. 


The unfortunate captives, who expected an imme- 
diate release, were bound hand and foot, put on board 
some large boats, and on a grass plot near the mouth 
of Mukah river were most inhumanly butchered in 
cold blood. The whole were in nimiber forty-five, and 
were mostly women ; their heads were given to the 
Dyaks, who at that time were our enemies. A short 
time after this tragedy I entered Mukah, and the scene 
where the murders took place was then fresh with the 
marks of the slaughtered wretches. Their torn clothes, 
the traces of blood and tracks of feet, were plainly 
visible on the ground. In pulling up through the 
Mukah village, most of the houses were burnt down, 
and the graveyards pillaged by Dyaks. The cocoa- 
nuts too were heartless and dying. The poorer of the 
working inhabitants suffered most. First of all they 
lost their favourite leader and relation, Pangeran 
Mathusein ; then they lost their property ; and now I 
could judge by their tone, that it was their express 
desire that a white man should hold the government 
of the place, as they ceased to trust in the faith of 
Brunei chiefs, who were continually bringing fire, 
sword, and desolation upon their town. On the fifth 
day after our arrival we heard the vessel containing the 
Rajah had passed on for Sarawak, so we set sail again, 
and were five days on our passage home. The weather 


was exceedingly unsettled. I never remember wit- 
nessing ntLore awful-looking black clouds at night; 
their appearance was fax worse than the actual dan^er^ 
as the wind was not particularly strong, nor did the 
rain last long, but the arches of i cloud seemed solid 
enough to be massive rocks^ grand and appalling. The 
watching did me a great deal of good, and t<^ether 
with my one companion I enjoyed the trip, the rock- 
ing and sea air having filled us with vigour. My 
time was then spent in Sakaraug, in studying the 
language and habits of the people, as well as paying 
strict attention to the prevention, of head hunting. 

I found myself gaining ground among, the natives 
aa we became better acquainted, and every little im- 
provement afforded me an inexpressible pleasure. I 
had been employed building a fexm-^house on a hill 
about two miles off, which would serve as a sort of 
sanitarium, although, it was only 400 feet in height. 
The view from it was beautiful, the sides precipitous^ 
and as yet a mere speck in the old jungle. 

My little cot on Braiun was soon completed, and it 
afforded me many a wild and happy day, as I roamed 
about those rugged steeps with my dogs, without which 
I never dared to sleep at night, the place being on 
the high road to the enem/s country. Small parties 
might at any time have crept about in the vicinity- 

BBAIUN. 155 


Two little boys were my only fiiends, as I could not 
persuade my regular followers to accompany me, tiiiedr 
unromantic spirits refusing to endure such a desdlate 
spot We all slept on mats in one room, while the 
dogs kept watch outside. Shortly afterwards the 
Dyaks £3imed around, and in one season cleared the 
hill of every tree. When burning, the flames ap- 
pix>ached within a few yards of my domicile, and the 
farmers trembled while thinking of how many jars I 
should demand, if the house were burnt down. The 
Undup Dyaks^ whom I trusted far more than any 
others, were always about me here,^ as their houses 
were close at hand. One party in the course of con- 
versation told me thftt while they were, working gutta 
percha last month, far in the junglee, they met another 
party of Dyaks. A3 e^K^h was facing the other, with 
spears in hand and. swords half drawn, one hailed, 
" Who are you? '' The reply was, " Undups." The others 
th^i said, "What Undaps?" and on receiving the 
reply, " Tuan Undups," they said, " We are also Undups 
of the white mam ;".^fter which they joined their forces 
and proceeded together on friendly terms. They had 
been enemies previous to this imexpected meeting, and 
it ifi a wonder that heads were not the fruit of their 
campaign, instead of beeswax and gutta percha. 

At this time the population are suffering from the 


eflfects of a bad harvest, but good comes of it in some 
respects, inasmuch as it induces the people to work the 
other products of the jungle, and the commodities fetch 
a good price among the traders. This exchange gradually 
expands the minds of the aborigines, and leads them 
to seek for a livelihood in more directions than one. 

December, 1855. — A Dyak has no conception of the 
use of a circulating medium. He may be seen wander- 
ing in the Bazaar with a ball of beeswax in his hand 
for days together, because he can't find anybody willing 
to take it for the exact article he requires. This article 
may be not more than a tenth the value of the beeswax, 
but he would not sell it for money, and then buy what 
he wants. From the first, he had the particular article 
in his mind's eye, and worked for the identical ball of 
beeswax with which and nothing else to purchase it 
The natives, both Malay and Dyak, have a method of 
seeking internal satisfaction (I cannot explain it by 
other words in my limited vocabulary) by communing 
in private with the spirits of the woods ; the Djraks 
call it Nampok, and the Malays, Bertapar. They stay 
away many days, feeding on little or nothing, and if 
they 'see any living person dxuing the time, they come 
home, and afterwards start afresh. Doubtless it does 
them good, soothing their simple minds. 

A troublesome Malay, named Abang Talahar, I 


found, had sent a spear among the Sakarang Dyaks, 
as a sign for them to arm and follow him on an expe« 
dition. This news reached me just in time to put 
a stop to what might have given much trouble ; 
as it was, some boats had started, and others were 
arming. Immediate directions were sent roimd to 
stop them under the heaviest penalty, and I started 
myself after those who had gone on, and overtook 
them at the mouth of the river (seventy miles oflF). 
The head man slunk quietly into the background. I 
called for the ^^ calling out^' spear, and my crew 
searched the boat before they got it. I ordered them 
back, and gave them to understand, that the first who 
left without my permission, would be speared with 
this identical weapon. This was quite within their 
comprehension, and they returned home. A short 
while afterwards I summoned the Malay to appear 
before the Eajah, to answer for his delinquencies ; and 
the steady way in which he denied having sent tibe 
spear, or even knowing anything at all about it, quite 
astounded me. This man was the coolest liar I had 
hitherto met. Turning white into black was a trifle 
compared with it I felt my case was lost, as I had 
no witnesses in Sar&wak, although there were numbers 
in Sakarang ; his name subsequently appears, in con^* 
nection with even more barefaced deeds. 


January^ 1856. — ^A peace was concluded between 
our Dyaks and those of a tribe named Bugau, who 
inhabit a branch stream of the Kapuas river. The 
Bugaus came in of their own accord, and were anxious 
to trade on this side, which is nearest them. This is 
one more hole stopped for head hunting excursions, 
and forms another handfol of friends. They talk 
much the same language as the Sea Dyaks, and show a 
similarity in manners and customs. Early this year, a 
force started from Sar&wak to erect a fort at Sarikei, 
twenty-five miles from the mouth of the Rejany. The 
Seriff Messahore had left this place, in consequence of 
having been fined for calling out the Dyaks for war- 
like purposes at Mukah, contrary to the regulations of 
Government. On arriving at the village, we found 
half of it in ashes, having been burnt down by the 
Dyaks. It was a pretty spot, on undulating ground, 
surrounded by fruit-trees. The building of the fort 
was a matter of only a few days. A party was sent 
up the river to communicate with the Dyaks ; but 
finding the latter very numerous and hostile they 
came back as soon as possible, and were glad to 
escape without casualties. 

• At this time I was far from well, between fever, 
and ague regularly every afternoon at twenty minutes 
past two, and sunburns, which had stripped all the 


skin from off my face, and blistered my arms ; my 
teeth also were gum-boiled, and in this state I was 
glad to return to Sardwak to obtain medical advice. 
I noted while away, in conversations on the subject 
of Dyak warfare with those who had [been many years 
among them, and were considered authorities, that 
the centre of the enemy was mentioned as being in 
a river named Kajulau, a tributary of the Kanowit. 
This country was said to be unapproachable, in con- 
sequence of its great distance inland ; and on account 
of the almost universal hostility of the surrounding 
inhabitants. It was from this river that the head 
hunting excursions were usually made, and the 
outlets were nimierous, in several directions towards 
the main streams, and thence to the Malay villages, 
and down upon the peaceable inhabitants of the 

In all directions around Sarikei and Kanowit there 
were enemies. Some few came to trade, but refused 
to pay revenue or obey the orders of the officials. 
They loved independence, and the two branches of 
Dyak employment were simply heads and salt ; and 
as these two requirements could not be found in the 
same quarter they, in former times, usually made 
peace with one petty Malay chief for the purpose of 
obtaining salt, while the heads were brought from some 


other petty Malay chiefs village lying in another 
direction. By these means the Malays obtained a trade 
with Dyaks as well as a following. 

On my return to Lingga^ the sad news of four 
Kaluka Malays having been cut off by E^ajulau Dyaks 
reached me. One of the murdered men was well 
known, and had been the most trustworthy man in 
the Kaluka river. The enemy's boat drew along- 
side the Malays, as they said, to trade; but after 
surrounding the unfortunates, they exclaimed, *' Oh ! 
you are our enemies;" then forthwith decapitated 
them. On hearing this report, I fdt these blood- 
thirsty creatures would never be brought into subjec- 
tion without the severest measures. They are the 
most subtle enemies, and there is no cure btit burning 
them out of house and home — dreadftd as this may 
appear. The women too must suffer, for they are the 
principal inciters and instigators of these bloody ex- 
ploits. An attack upon a Dyak force, the destruction 
of the whole of it, with the lives of all the men, is 
no permanent advancement towards cessation of head- 
taking. But the burning down of a village, loss of 
goods, old relics,-'H3uch as heads, arms, and jars, — and 
putting the inhabitants, male and female, to excessive 
inconvenience — ^all this fills them with fear, and makes 
them think of the consequences of taking the heads of 


strangers. These inland abodes have been and are 
everlasting fastnesses in their imagination. Besides, 
they always express very freely their notions of white 
men — " They are powerful, having arms, and ships at^ 
sea ; but it is only we Dyaks who can walk and fight 
by land, and clamber steep mountains.'* The Lingga 
Dyaks expressed a strong desire to be allowed to go 
and make attacks on any Dyaks in this vicinity ; but 
I prohibited their moving, as I was well aware an 
indiscriminate onslaught would only be made, in 
which the most innocent would suflfer. Again patience 
• was the order of the day. 

March^ 1856. — ^Three little Dyak girls came to pay 
me a visit, in all the pertness and prettiness of English 
misses; their behaviour was particularly pleasing. 
Having each shaken my hand, they took a chair, and 
then all sat upon it together. One, more forward than 
the other two, said they had come all the way from 
Banting to see me, had pulled in a boat themselves, 
and were going back the next tide. I then asked 
her after all the old women, especially their own rela- 
tions, at Banting. The weather set in rough and 
rainy, and I asked them to remain. My invitation did 
not require renewing, for I found they soon made 
themselves perfectly comfortable on some mats in a 
comer. They were not long before they had picked 

TOb I. X 


all my flowers, wound up my musical box, and were 
chattering away by themselves quite at home. They 
jemained the whole of the next day and night, and 
did not bid me adieu till late the morning after. It 
amused me greatly, listening to this, the trivial confab 
which passes between all children, relating to every 
little occurrence of their daily life. These were three 
chums, or inseparable friends, nearly related, and were 
together from day to day. A part of my meals 
was handed to them, and they gave me no trouble. 
There is a strict etiquette among the Dyaks, more 
particularly among the females ; the inmates of two 
houses, within twenty yards of one another, may be 
strangers, and never go into one another's houses ; 
meeting or passing, they merely make the casual 
observations of distant acquaintances. The Dyaks are 
particular in this respect, and any person infringing the 
customary modes, would be treated as a fool or an idiot 
During the last three days I have been watch- 
ing an insect, betwixt a dragon-fly and hornet, build- 
ing her nest above my sofa on the rafter. It now is 
finished, and consists of two small cells, about an 
inch in length, the inner one having no opening to the 
outside, the doorway being closed It took the insect 
exactly one day in arranging and completing each cell, 
bringing up mud from the river bank, and placing it 


first of all in a lump, then thinning and smoothing it 
off with its pair of pointed instruments below the head. 
I was surprised at the activity of its movements, bring- 
ing up and paring off at least three loads of mud in a 
minute, and finishing the whole of one cell before any 
part of the mud had time to get dry. After the arrang- 
ing of the mud on the outside, it went in to see if all 
was in proper trim ; then, when it became dry, the in- 
telligent insect returned, and was employed for some 
hours in smoothing both the outer and inner side. 
The natives call it Indu Angkat, and I always ima- 
gined it laid eggs in the different cells, which in the 
course of time became hatched; but the morning after 
I had seen the cell built, I found it bring, hugged 
in its grasp, something like a large spider, or more 
like a tick which sucks the blood of cattle; this was 
carefully deposited inside the cell, and after this a 
grub was placed inside also, and the opening plastered 
up ; the next cell also received similar inmates, and 
was again closed. I conjectured the maggots to be 
the food of the insects when they are hatched fi^om the 
eggs, which I supposed had been deposited, or the tick 
might be the young one itself in the primary state. 
The same insect then commenced a third ceU, without 
resting, and I steadily watched him complete it, and 
deposit the living stock, and seal the portal. 

x 2 


The morning after, I found my servant had swept 
the whole beautiful fabric of my pet's nest away. He 
had no soul for the wonderful instinct of animals, and 
considered it in too near a proximity to his master's 

April, 1856. — ^We were almost daily having alarms 

in one place or another ; sometimes o!n water, and at 

others on land. And upon one side of the whole 

length of the river, the inhabitants dare not farm or 

live, fearing attacks from the interior of Sakarang and 

Saribus. Small parties made their foraging excursions, 

and ran away with a head here and there, and were 

far distant before we could follow them up. Often, 

too, these alarms were false, raised by a breath, and 

ending in smoke. The chief difficulty on many occa- 

jsions was to distinguish friends from enemies. Now 

.4again we prepared a force to make that grand attack 

Hon the Kajulau country, which I had been so long 

revolving in my mind. I felt it to be a matter of con- 

cfliderable danger, and very qmetly investigated all the 

minutiae before allowing a breath of it to get abroad. 

* Many years after, the author, on reading the interesting aooount 
of " Naturalists on the Amazon," by Bates, saw a description of this 
insect, named Pelopseus wasp; the only difference appeared to be, 
that the Amazonian required a week to perfect her oeU, while the 
Bomeon wasp took only a day, or even less, the probability being that 
the mud in the latter instance was dose at hand. 


I received permission from Sarawak to organise an ex- 
pedition for the attack ; and this was to be the first 
force to act independent of Sardwak assistance in. 
Malays and white men. The anns and ammunition 
were sent to be distributed among the natives who 
undertook the affair. 

When it became a certainty, I called all the native 
Malay chiefs to set, the plan before them, and to fiaid 
out their opinion on the matter. I plainly told them 
that a successful attack would be for their own benefit, 
and future comfort and prosperity ; for as it was, if 
we remained as quiet as we had been, the Dyaks 
would surely gain ground upon us, and increase their 
annoying and marauding incursions. I did not men- 
tion that I had any intention of accompanying the 
force, nor had I then obtained permission to do so. . 

Some of the head men gave their opinion freely and 
sensibly, saying there was considerable risk, as the 
distance was great, and there was danger of sickness, 
and the wounded men would be cut off by the niun- 
bers of enemies they were sure to find waiting in every 
direction. But they said, if the Government wished 
them to go, and would, assist them, they were willing 
to do their best. Most inopportunely for a super- 
stitiously ignorant set of beings, just as these orations 
were ending, and a crowd of some 300 armed men 


were standing and sitting in front of me, about thirty 
feet of the flooring of this old fort gave way, and down 
went the greater part of the assembly simultaneously, 
with boxes of powder, chairs, and numerous other 
articles. The fall was about ten feet ; so that some 
of them were severely bruised, and several of their 
swords, which were attached to their waists, were 
snapped in two. The efiect was laughable; but I 
trembled while thinking that such an overset would Ije 
attributed to adverse or bad omens. However, they 
made a joke of it, and went home, after they had 
received a high price for their weapons and balm for 
their wounds, and it was ifientioned no more. I in- 
stantly placed a strong guard in every direction around 
and above us, to cut off* all possibility of communica- 
tion with any of the enemy. The Dyaks prepared 
their boats ; and notice was given to a few only of 
the Malay community that they were required for 
active service, being armed and provisioned for so 
many days. 

We could 'muster about one hundred muskets, as 
well as a few rifles. We were busy making cartridges, 
two thousand of which I made with my own hands in 
a few days, working night and day.. But my health 
was far from satisfactory — pains and aches were in 
all my bones ; and I felt so weak as hardly to be 

; BAD OMEN. 167 

able to rise from a bed. People said it was being 

June Qthy 1856. — ^The force was assembled around 
the village of Sakarang, numbering about one hundred 
largish boats, containing on an average thirty men in 
each. My boat was a narrow skim-along of 54 ft., 
with about 3 ft. beam, containing a crew of twenty- 
two men, all picked, and mostly old and tried followers. 
My friend " Aing ^ was in a boat about the same size, 
but my craft was supposed to be the fastest. 

9ih. — ^We were waiting for "Ballan'' or Lingga 
Dyaks, whom we held most provoking and perverse 
for not attending at the time appointed. The listening 
to birds is deferred till the last moment, so that a 
bad or unlucky one causes a considerable delay. We 
passed along the coast, waiting at each place for our 
party, and keeping the force as much as possible from 
the view of people, boimd to and fro for trading 

\Oih. — While waiting in a small stream, we 
were obliged to stop a trading boat of Dyaks bound 
for Saribus river, as they would have spread the 
intelligence far and wide. This boat was placed in 
charge of two of our force to watch, and was then 
carried on with us. The poor fellows were in great 
fear and trembling. 


11^. — Our force passed the mouth of Soribus 
river, which is broad and dangerous for such small 
boats as mine ; and as we started before the tide was 
sufficiently slack, we got into a bubble of a sea, half 
filled, wetted everything, and had to go back, with the 
greatest difficulty keeping the boat afloat. Towards 
the afternoon we tried again, and this time we suc- 

When I was on the point of leaving the line of 
communication with Sar&wak, and thereby precluding 
a possibility of recall, I despatched letters to inform 
the authorities in Sardwak that I had accompanied 
the expedition, aa I considered it waa imperatively 
necessary for such a force to be under the direction of 
a white man, whose influence only would pacify any 
disputes arising from the counsels of the natives. We 
entered the Kiduka river, and with a flood tide pushed 
on until we reached a village. Darkness had set in, 
and my crew were dead tired, as I had made them 
pull past the whole force to gain the lead. We were 
hailed from the village, whose inmates were in total 
ignorance of such a force being near them. There was 
much trouble in keeping the other boats of Dyaks 
from passing on; but I was resolute, as success 
depended upon good management One mistake in 
allowing a party to proceed to warn the enemy, and 


we should never overcome the obstacles. When once 
we have reached their country, they may assemble to 
oppose us in what numbers they please. 

12th. — ^We pushed on for Siputtan, and here the 
grand conference was to be held, and our final 
start for the enemy's country was to be made on the 
morrow. Some of the Malays came to see me, and 
were willing to follow ; but the head man, Nakodah 
Brahim, entered my boat, looking exceedingly glum* 
I asked him if he intended to join us, at the same 
time telling him I would leave it entirely to himself 
to go or • not, as he felt inclined. He replied, — 
*' No, Tuan, I won't go, because I am perfectly sure 
the expedition wiU not be successful in attacking the 
Kajulau country, or even reaching anywhere near it- 
I have been bred up from my youth in this place, and 
I know the difficulties which intervene, both on water 
and land. Your Dyaks wiU be only able to kill some 
of the innocent people living near us, whose houses you 
will have to pass ; and I would stake my existence 
that no good can come from such an undertaking/* 
We parted, and he returned to his house ; but before 
his leaving I put the trading boat's crew under his 
superintendence, with strict orders not to allow them 
to be released for three days. I subsequently heard 
one got away the day after, and no doubt spread 


the news throughout the country as fast as possible. 
At four, the chiefs (Malays and Dyaks) were squatting 
in a circle, in the centre of which was placed a chock 
of wood for myself. I had careftdly noticed all the 
points to be discussed. On leaving my boat I was so 
weak and stiff, that two men assisted me up the bank, 
aches being still in every bone. My oration proceeded 
thus: — "Abangs, chiefs, and all, we have assembled 
to discuss the future operations of our force ; the plan 
of its proceedings will be settled after to day, when 
we shall be in the enemy's country, although not those 
whom we are bound to attack. On starting 'from this 
point we must strictly attend to regulations, as, in 
the management of these depends our future success 
or fEulure, glory or shame. I ask your assistance, 
each expressing his opinion openly and fearlessly ; but 
after we break up no more is to be said. Acts come 
after words. In the conamencement I will give you 
my opinion of how we should manage affairs, but as 
this is the first time I have accompanied such an 
inland expedition, and being the only white man, I 
beg you who are older, and have had more experience, 
to be as plain with me as I shall be with you. I 
appoint Lela Pelawan and Abang Aing to be the 
two heads and leaders of the whole force. I will be a 
witness, and do my best to assist in so great an under- 


taking, upon which depends much of vital importance. 
In proceeding to-morrow morning the Balla will 
advance in order, and no boats are to attempt to pass 
mine, which shall lead, after the guides. Sandom is 
our guide, and we axe to attend minutely to his 
directions. None of the force are to stray right or 
left, or molest any one living on intermediate ground. 
Our enemy is in KAJulau, and we must pay no atten- 
tion to others, unless they make an attack on us. We 
assemble at Budu and thence commence our inland 
march, which will be placed under regulations in a 
second conference held at the starting-point. The 
chiefs of the boats are answerable for their people; 
in passing over rapids every care must be taken, and 
the first one over must assist those behind." This 
was all I had to say. After which there were only 
casual remarks upon diJBferent matters connected with 
the advance, and no one but the Dyak chiefs spoke 
at length, and then only to harangue their own 
followers. After all the severe part was over, the 
old chiefs related their dreams, which were lucky and 
auspicious, and the whole party seemed satisfied. 

13tL — ^Before dawn opened I heard the low sound 
of many voices around my boat, and surmised that 
there was some hitch in our affairs. As soon as 
I opened my eyes Lela Pelawan and numerous others 


stepped into my boat, and tried to dissuade me from 
attempting to advance ; he said he had been kept 
awake all night by the Kaluka people, who knew 
the many obstacles of the river, and they all proposed 
the force returning, and attempting an advance up 
another branch. One Kaluka man said, "You may 
as well try to take boats over the roof of a house 
as go over those rapids/* I felt very vexed, for 
more than half my Malay force was ciying oft 

At this juncture Aing came in, and for the first 
time spoke — he was the most silent and stolid in- 
dividual on most occasions. He said, " Now, ELaluka 
men, you heard what passed last evening, and you 
refused to speak. You have lost more heads from 
these enemies than any others, so that you should be 
the first to assist in such an attack, instead of wishing 
to mislead us, where you know we can't touch or 
approach the Kajulau country." This was enough ; I 
despatched the Kaluka party with a flea in their ears, 
and told them, if they were afraid, they had better 
return to their wives, as we should go on until we 
found dangers too difficult to cope with. Half-an- 
hour afterwards we were one stirring mass of boats 
and bodies — the Dyaks rushing on, and every now and 
then coming so close, as to endanger the safety of my 
boat The Banting Dyaks were in immense boats. 


carrying fifty and sixty men, and very fast. Two hours 
after we started, as I was standing up, blunderbuss in 
hand, I felt my health and strength quite restored, 
and all pains and aches left me. The excitement of 
such a wild sight caused a reaction and cured me 
thoroughly; it was the first time I had witnessed 
such a force of wild devils trying to throw all order to 
the winds. 

In pajBsing round one of the points we spied a boat 
containing Dyaks, and fortunately our guide, Sandom, 
had akeady closed with it, and taken the crew under 
his protection. The other part of the force was per- 
fectly mad, throwing off their covering, arranging 
their arms, and making the most fearful noise. These 
strange Dyaks belonged to a branch stream a short 
way above this. I warned them not to appear in our 
line of march with arms, or they would be treated as 
enemies, and ordered them to return to their house for 
the present : after this they followed in our wake, and 
we advanced again. The river soon narrowed, and rocks 
were strewed in many places ; the big boats therefore 
drew astern to pass dangers quietly; the Sakarang 
light boats then followed close to me, and were less 
noisy than the Banting Dyaks. At mid-day we 
arrived at the Rapid Ambuas, and here we could only 
pass one by one. This rapid was not actually dan- 


gerous, as the waters passed quietly over it, but it was 
a hard pull to get a boat over. The Sakarang boats 
soon overcame the difficulty while I sat on the rock 
watching them. It was a massive boulder about eight 
feet in height, with considerable steepness, but there 
was a small passage on the right bank through which 
the stream poured. The heavy boats were not yet up, 
and I was aware what their remarks would be, for this 
was the place they had represented as the great diffi- 
culty. When sitting here many of the Sakarang chiefs 
were around me, and old Linghi observed, " Tuan, our 
start has been very satisfactory and auspicious, the 
enemy are still in ignorance of our proceedings, and if 
Bertara assist us we shall meet with success." The 
old man then opened his bag containing his sirih and 
penang, which he had strung round his neck, and 
allowed a snake about five feet in length to escape, 
which I did not see until it was moving along and 
passing over one of my bare feet. I was much 
startled, and should have decamped in aU haste if I 
had had time to do so, but the old man seized my arm 
and said, "Now that is really a first-rate omen; and 
don't be alarmed — ^look how gently it proceeds : no 
one must hurt it ; '' then he drove it along until it was 
fairly out of sight up the bank. This snake had 
crawled into his boat and been received into his sirih 


bag, where it had been coiled quietly for more than an 
hour. My light boat went over the difficulty without 
a hindrance, and we cheered loudly as we reached the 
upper side. There we all waited for the heavy party 
in the rear. At length they arrived, bringing their 
boats' bows on to the boulder. Their faces immediately 
denoted their thoughts, and when I- called the head 
Malay chief, Lela Pelawan, and told him the difficulty 
could be surmounted with the will, he demurred; and I 
heard a bowman say, " we might as well have poisoned 
ourselves before starting, as think of getting our boats 
over such naked rocks." The whole of the afternoon 
I sat on those rocks trying to persuade them to pull 
their boats over, and oflFered to assist them myself; 
but the spirit of opposition, fear, and irresolution 
gained the day. I was much disappointed; and 
wound up by telling them I should proceed without 
•them next morning. These fellows went on con- 
versing throughout the whole night, some proposing 
one scheme, some another, and they did not like my 
going without them, as, if anything serious happened 
to me, they were afraid of the consequences being 
visited on them from Sarawak. The evening set in 
beautiful and serene, scarcely a leaf was moving, and 
not a cloud appeared over head. 

There werd brought to my boat four Dyaks, who lived 


in a house above, from the landing-place of which we 
should have to start on our inland march. These four 
men had been on their way down to trade, and much 
to their surprise came in contact with our force, and 
considered it the safer plan to join the multitude. 
They were only friends through fear, and would have 
killed any of us if they had found an opportunity. In 
true Dyak custom, when Dyak meets Dyak they begin 
detailing the collateral branches of their forefathers, 
and found out that most of them were connected 
through some circuitous paths of relationship. Old 
Orang Kaya Gassing (who is a remarkably bad speaker 
for a Dyak) spoke to them to the following effect : 
*' Children and grand-children, you are living some- 
what distant from us, and we scarcely know how your 
hearts are disposed ; but remember we follow a Go- 
vernment, aud are now bound to punish the enemies 
of order in the Blajulau country. We acknowledge 
only one roof-tree (parabong), the Rajah of Sar&wak, 
under which we aU find protection and justice, and 
in its shelter we stand as a support and assistance, 
— ^you must be either with or against us." 

Dusk came on, and fires were lighted all around by 
the forces for cooking. It was a strict rule that no 
smoke should ascend during the day, or the enemy 
would find out the movements of so large a force by 


the shadows cast before it. Smoke can be descried a 
hundred miles oflF, and the natives know if it be occa- 
sioned by fann-buming, house-burning, or cooking. 
My spare meal was over, and the cigar whiflFed with 
extreme pleasure, for I felt our manoeuvres were on a 
satisfactory footing ; . and this undertaking had been 
so many days wrapt up in my mind, that there was a 
gratification in contemplating its gradual execution. 
For nights and nights I had dreamt of nothing 
else, sometimes with successful results, at others as 
attended with the most direful calamities and cold- 
blooded cutting of throats ; the reality will never sur- 
pass what the imagination has already pictured in 
exaggerated colours during sleep. A wild and glorious 
sight presented itself, and it was one which I shall 
never forget The boats were thickly huddled on each 
bank. At the bows of each the crew had cooked their 
food, and were now sitting and talking over their 
fires ; merry laughs were heard, as well as the mono- 
tonous mournful tones of the stream trickling over its 
stony bed. A bright moon was rising and pouring 
its light through the overhanging boughs of the large 
trees by the water's edge. We could hear, too, our 
rearmost party in the distance. Without covering, 
under that bright moon I sank into a soimd sleep, 
very thankful for what we had accomplished, but with 

TOL. I. K 


a deep feeling of the responsibility of th^ charge I 
had brought upon myself, in which failure would be the 
death of hundreds or thousands. There would be no 
one to bury us above this point, and few, if any, could 
find their way home if we chanced to meet with a 
reverse. I was here without permission, but I knew 
success would justify such an act, and failure would 
leave me beyond the reach of any want of forgiveness* 
lith. — Our party were busy cooking at 3 aji. by 
the light of the moon, when some of the leaders 
of Sussangs and Linggas came to tell me they were 
determined to follow by land, and they would not per- 
mit me to advance without them ; they tried to dday 
one day here, but that I declined, and after speaking 
quietly to them, the light division advanced in order. 
We found there were no insurmountable barriers 
beyond; but some of the rocks were exceedingly 
sharp and steep, of limestone formation, so that many 
boats received injuries, and it delayed us a short time 
to patch them up. We passed some small streams 
and untouched jungle, lovely to the eye and refreshing 
to the soul. At 2 p.m. we came to the mouth of the 
place (Budu) for leaving our boats, and it answered 
the exact description Sandom had so often given me, 
and was excellently adapted for a temporary fortifica- 
tion as a protection for our boats. Above this point 


there axe many houses of enemies ; in fact, the whole 
country towards Saribus, on our right, was inhabited 
by people who were hostile to us ; our course lay to the 
left, and the rear was to be guarded. 

After resting an hour we commenced clearing and 
marking out the ground for a stockade, with a strong 
paling around. There were two long houses of Dyaks 
within a few hundred yards of us, and we could 
discern the j&niit trees around them. I doubted the 
sincerity of the inhabitants, and heard to my disap- 
pointment that the leading Dyak of all the head- 
hunting parties in Saribus, named Sadji, was staying 
here for the purpose of fining some people. He was a 
nominal friend, as he had been received in Sarawak 
as such ; but I knew him to be the most determined 
enemy we had in the whole country, and hereafter the 
news of our movements would spread like wild-fire. 
But now I did not care so much, as we had arrived at 
a point where retreat was impossible, and to fight was 
the only means of holding our own against any and 
every party who tried to impede our progress. We 
had a hundred muskets, and our following, about 3000 
men. There was no more news of the rearmost party 
this day, but I got the Dyaks to work well at the 
fortifications, so that we might proceed directly they 
came up. They caused me much anxiety, as, if I 

v 2 


advanced without them, my force would be quite in- 
adequate for the undertaking. I was informed bjr 
some old heroes with hoary locks, that no previous 
force had ever passed this mouth of Budu. 

15tk. — Our fortifications and "pagars" (palings) 
were finished at an early hour, and now we were 
anxiously waiting the arrival of the greater part of 
our force still in the rear, and there was no possible 
means of communicating with them. The second and 
last council of war was to be held this afternoon, 
the start to be made to-morrow morning. Early in 
the afternoon our hindermost party began coming in; 
they had mistaken their way, and had a very severe 
walk over steep hills. Our coimcil again consisted of 
the principal men, and we proposed the following 
points: firstly, Pangeran, Matah, and Sau Besi (iron 
anchor) should be the beak (patok) of our force, and 
proceed dose on the steps of the guides — Sandom 
and his party. In the Malay centre I should walk 
with Aing and the other chief men ; and the tail (ikur) 
should be conunanded by SeriflF Amjah, a stolid old 
Kalacka noble : this line was to use the pathway and 
follow in the wake of the guides ; besides which there 
would be wings consisting of Sakarang and Batang 
Lupar Dyaks on my right, a few yards oflF, whUe the 
Bantings and Undups would be on my left. The chief 


of each wing or tribe was to appoint his own fighting 

cocks to lead, and occupy the centre himself abreast 

of me. This marching order would present five lines, 

thus — 

Left wiug, Dyaks. Beak. 

Jungles. I D^; p^^ jy^^ 

Malay Tail. Main body, Malays. Beak. Quides. 
Main road. • 


Bight wing, Dyak. Beak. 

Jungles. J D^, D^, jy^^ 

It would be impossible for any one to break us, 
or separate our party. We were to advance, halt, and 
keep together as much as possible. They were warned 
not to rush into an enemy, as was done at Sungei Lang, 
where several were killed in consequence. That even- 
ing there was a variety of preparations to be made ; 
the party who had to remain took charge of the 

16th. — ^The arms were all set in order, and when 
mom came it was raining, damp, and hazy, which 
somewhat retarded us; but directly the skies began 
to lighten, about 8 A.M., we fell into order. The 
Dyaks set off, and Malays followed, .and our turn 


came; Dyaks were here and there with the tapping 
sound of sword and spear tattling against their shields; 
and now we fairly set oflf, and this is always a satisfac- 
tion. While marching on open farming ground, before 
the order was properly arranged, who should come 
straight up to me but Sadji and Tangok, the former a 
renowned enemy, and the latter the chief of the houses 
which were within a few yards of us. Sadji came and 
offered his hand, and after cocking my rifle, I shook it 
with my left, keeping my eye steadily on him all the 
time ; the other man held out a fowl, this I refused : I 
told the leaders to march on, and we left them, — ^but 
mischief was working in his mind, as I well knew. 
His presence in my rear kept me in particular care of 
our tail, as I was aware he would have some hundreds 
at his heels within a couple of days. We reached the 
old jungle, when a halt was called, so that the guides 
might pick out the best path. Sandom had no trifling 
duty on his shoulders, and well he performed it 
throughout, although many times the discontented and 
fatigued ones complained and abused him in unmea- 
sured terms. His curt reply was never more than 
"You ignorant fools." About 11 a.m. we formed in 
regular order, and marched without a break imtil 
4 P.M. over hill and dale, continually wading through 
streams. The old jungles were cold, as no s\m broke 


through their impenetrable branches ; the hills were of 
easy ascent, but slippery from the numbers of feet ; a 
halt was called, and we set to work to build sleeping 
places ("lankane") by the side of a sparkling stream, 
** Tassi," winding so much as to allow all the Malay 
force, 300 men, to be close together. After I had 
rested a short time, and dusk was coming on, I received 
intelligence that many of the Lingga Dyaks had 
bivouacked far beyond all means of caU in caae of 
being attacked. This alarmed me so much that I de- 
termined to set off with only Aing, and bring them in. 
They were now a mile away, and when I reached their 
abodes, I ordered them all to join the force imme- 
diately ; and finding they would not move, proceeded 
to cut away at their lankans, till down they all came. 
Aing afiked me to desist, but one mistake would have 
left us aU dead men, and reasoning is little use with 
such a perverse set a^ these. They did not approve of 
this summary treatment, but not one offered to resist, 
so they followed me back to the camp, houseless for 
the night in consequence of disobeying orders. It was 
pitch dark walking back, and we had many severe 
tumbles, but, though tired, I felt satisfied; so rolled 
myself up in the Sarawak flag and slept a little in the, for the roof was leaking like a sieve. The sound 
of the enemy's gongs and instruments for collecting 


their forces, and warning the surrounding country of 
the approach of our force, were distinctly reverberating 
in many directions, but we were not bound to attack 
them this time. 

VJth — Stiff and wet, I rose by dayKght, when all 
our force cooked, and were now preparing for the start 
The hot coffee was a delicious gift, as my appetite 
was gone. At 7 a.m. I rose to put on my belt, 
when Aing and all the rest got ready without a word. 
Now we were off again. The order was kept very 
regularly ; and the cleared space in the old jungles 
we left behind was as if thousands of wild animals had 
been tearing through the underwood — ^the ground on 
the sides of the hills was literally scraped. The Dyak 
wings had considerable difficulty in keeping their 
stations, and often tried to mingle with the Malays, 
.but were forcibly pushed out. We marched again for 
:five hours, during which we had left some of the 
enemy's sounds behind. There was one house on a 
hill not far off on our right. Those warning sounds 
keep our Dyaks on guard, and the Linggas did not 
give any more trouble as on the previous night. My 
feelings were not cheerful, and I was sensible such 
work was depriving me of flesh and weight. My 
appetite was gone, and the cold and wet did not tend 
to cheer me ; but I felt as strong as a horse. I may 


here mention the extreme thoughtftdness and kindness 
of the Malays, both my own men and the others, who. 
were not on pay. They did everything they could to 
add to my comfort, in a most unostentatious way ; 
and I never had to ask or give an order twice over. 
People were glad to assist the solitary white man who 
had trusted his life under their protection and care ; 
and I feel sure there were few among them who 
would not have placed his own life in danger to save 

We stopped this night at Nanga Kau, and found 
the remains of numerous old lankans, which were 
now rotting, but had been the resting-places of 
a large head-hunting force on their road towards 

18th. — Started as usual, keeping in the same order, 
and having much more difficult yralking, as the 
sides of the hills were higher and steeper, and the 
streams between them deeper. Some of the batangs 
(logs) were very slippery, and it was as much as I 
could do with shoes to keep on my feet, even with the 
assistance of the man in front, who gave me a helping 
hand more than once. Old untouched jungles without 
an opening were covering us, and I often heard a com- 
plaining Dyak say, as he was pushing his way through 
the under brushwood, " These Sakarangs are leading 


US to the end of the skies, and I don't believe there are 
any mankind here/' I must confess I was becoming 
tired and weary of such monotonous and chilly work, 
and was beginning to think our guides were at fault in 
the route, but all at once, at 3 P.M., a yell and a screech 
was heard fix)m our leading party, accompanied by 
, eight or ten shots, which awoke us all from our reveries. 
The yeUs were soon resounding along our whole line. 
We were now on the borders of the Kajulan farming 
ground, and the enemy had showered spears at our 
leaders as they were ascending a small eminence ; but 
the muskets cleared the ground, and brought four 
down instantaneously; the remainder fled. On coming 
out from the old jungles, we could see several houses 
of the Kajulan inhabitants, and our force of Dyaks 
was proceeding double quick time towards them. On 
arriving, we found the houses deserted by the people, 
but containing much plunder, which was being col- 
lected in all directions. Some few fellows had been 
wounded, who came to me to be spat on or medicined. 
This I declined to do ; so my people gave them a 
volley of saliva over their wounds in my stead, and 
promised a speedy recovery. We halted at Lambur's 
house, which was large and new, and, as it so hap- 
pened, was all prepared with decorations for a head 
. feast, which evidently was to take place in a day or 


two, or perhaps sooner. The inmates must have fled 
in great haste. 

While waiting for a little quiet before disposing 
ourselves inside, I was talking to Lela Pelawan ; and 
as he took a view around, he said, " Ah, this is the 
first time any of us have seen Kajulan ; we never 
before ventured to make an attack as far as this, 
although I have been at war nearly all my life, and 
have attacked every place on and near the coast." 

This country is undulating, and has not been inha- 
bited long — ^the soil is extremely good for farming. 
The results of their harvests were to be seen in the 
great quantity of padi stocked in their houses, which 
were crammed, and yet they could not be contented 
without committing butcheries by which heads could 
be obtained. The Kajulan stream ran close by, about 
thirty yards broad, and shallow, with a pebbly bottom, 
much such a gentle river as is to be seen in England, 
without dangers or difficulties, peaceably wending its 
course through glades and shades. The bathing was 
delicious, and we rested under a good roof for the 

19th. — ^Parties were despatched in different direc- 
tions to bum and destroy ; and right well can these 
Dyaks do such work. Malays are useless at any- 
thing of the sort ; they sit quietly in the dolce far 


niente style, imagining some favom^ble success and 
fortune may fall from the skies, if Alat AlaJi should be 
disposed to assist them. Although the enemy ran off 
in haste, they had time to hide many things of value ; 
but our Dyaks allowed no leaf to pass unturned ; and 
at a place in the river where I had been sitting and 
bathing for hours to-day, along with hundreds of 
Malays, I was surprised to see, towards the evening, a 
few Dyaks come to take their last duck before retiring 
after their da/s work ; when lo 1 and behold, they 
traced a small line to a twig, and brought up a large 
brass gun. Such is their quickness of vision ; only 
Dyaks can kill Dyaks. 

There was smoke ascending in many directions, 
and a large stock of plunder coming on, during the 
whole day, but not a sound of an enemy; in fact, they 
must have been panic-stricken at our cool lodgment 
in the centre of their estates — spaying them off for old 
scores, and receiving a balance. At mid-day, Sandom, 
while away with the Linggas, came across a party of 
the enemy and some swords were drawn, but Sandom 
rushed between, just in time to exclaim, " It is my 
father-in-law, don't kill him ! '' They fortunately 
obeyed him, and he was brought as a captive to me. 
He was a fine strapping fellow, of middle age ; and the 
scratches about his bare body plainly proved that he 


must have been one who opposed our advance yester- 
day, and ran for his life through brushwood. I asked 
the poor fellow (who gloried in the title of " The bear 
of heaven ") in what direction his house was situated ? 
Looking out, he said, " There. Ah I those are the 
flames of it just rising." I promised him his safe 
conduct, and that of his family if he could find them. 
With the guidance and assistance of Sandom, they 
were rescued from their hiding-place — ^a mother and 
four children — and all returned with us. 

I had been expecting an attack this afternoon, as 
I thought the enemy would have recovered, and orga- 
nised themselves sufficiently to oflFer resistance ; but 
no, there was not a breath of hostility, and I ate my 
dinner off a tough fighting-cock, scorched, feathers and 
all, over a fire, and some old and dried Indian corn, 
which is kept for medicinal purposes, particularly for 
the cure of snake bites ; each man carries a small 
quantity in jungle travelling. My appetite was very 
meagre, and my whole organisation seemed tense with 
the strain of care and responsibility. I had certainly 
made a mistake in bringing no alcohol with me ; two 
glasses of sherry would have made all the difierence. 
Towards seven o'clock we observed that the posts of 
the house in which we were located were sloping con- 
siderably, and after the whole party of Malays had 


been holding a serious discussion about the probability 
of the building falling before long, I began to think 
this would be no joke at any time, but more parti- 
cularly now in an enemy's country, several days from 
boats, and about ten feet oS the ground; so that if 
we did faU, we should lose both arms and lives. I 
found it had been caused by the Dyaks stowing much 
of their plunder away on the roof of the house, — 
heavy jars, gongs, and every kind of rubbish of Dyak 
householdry — ^besides, hundreds had betaken them- 
selves above when, according to jcustom, they should 
have been on the ground. Abang Aing came, and 
most authoritatively obliged me to take up my arms 
and leave the house with him. I did as I was re- 
quested, and directed the Malays to turn the Dyaks 
out instantly ; using fair means at first — ^that failiag, 
to try stronger measures, as out they must come before 
our domicile falls. Aing and myseK sat some distance 
off on a large log, answering the purpose of a bridge 
over a running stream. The moon was at the fiiD, 
and rose in all its brilliancy, without a cloud or a 
breath of air. A thin white haze enveloped the lower 
land. The night was cool and delicious, and we were 
only waiting till the house was secure to return to our 
roost. The din of the many voices in the dwelling would 
have been audible several hundred yards off; but as 


time drew on, Aing and myself listened attentively, 
and at last thought there was a quarrel arising among 
our people. As the din increased, louder voices 
could now be heard above the others, besides the 
rumbling sound and confusion being excessive; at 
length, some came in hot haste down the ladder, while 
others were scampering up ; then I wished to ascer- 
tain the cause of this disturbance, but Aing would 
not let me move. Five minutes after, three Banting 
chiefs rushed down, and, almost breathless, they begged 
me to come up immediately — so away I went, with 
sword and loaded double-barrel. On entering the 
house, and shoving my way through a living massj I 
found in the centre of it an opening of about six 
feet ; upon either side of which were men with drawn 
swords, vociferating amazingly, — ^the Dyaks on one 
side, Malays on the other, and both in an equally ex- 
asperated state, but held back by some of the steadier 
folks on each side. There was no time for hesitation 
or argument, and I was well aware of the dangerous 
propensities of the Ballan Dyaks, when their tempers 
are once aroused. So I immediately placed myself 
between the two parties, ordered them to be silent, and 
cocking my double-barrel before the eyes of ApaiNiawin, 
I proceeded to order him forthwith to leave the house, 
and with the muzzle of my double-barrel within two 


inches of his head I followed him to the top of the 
ladder, and told him, if he uttered one word more he 
was a dead man. Not a syllable was spoken by any- 
body, and the Dyaks edged away, leaving me and the 
refractory Dyak to march along unheeded. After he 
left, I gave him permission to open his case the next 
morning, if he felt disposed. Quiet was restored, and 
no one spoke above a whisper during the remainder of 
the night. After this I heard no more of it, but it was 
very near being as disagreeable a catastrophe as could 
possibly have happened. 

20th. — ^Parties were arranged to proceed further 
down the river, to attack and destroy aU that came 
within their reach. We remained here quietly, and 
the only volume I had to amuse myself with, was a 
pocket edition of " Childe Harold." The parties came 
home late in the evening, and our work of destruction 
was complete. Twenty-five houses had been sacked 
and destroyed, some large, some small. The amount 
of property plimdered was inmiense. The ashes of 
padi were in some places a foot deep, and continued to 
smoke and smoulder. 

21 8t — ^A council of war was again held this morn- 
ing, and I was particular in arranging the order of 
the march home, as the Dyaks are so careless when 
thinking themselves safe ; and now, many were 


heavily laden, and thought much less of the enemy 
than of their plunder. The leaders in advancing, 
became the rearmost in returning. The " Iron Anchor" 
and the Pangeran have the most positive instructions 
to allow no one to lag after them, except Sandom 
and his party, who, according to Dyak warfare, plant 
sharpened bits of bamboo along the pathway, with the 
points directed towards the enemy. This may seem 
somewhat like child's play, but it is an eflFectual 
safeguard against the enemy following, and for cutting 
off stragglers. 

There were some wounded and many sick that had 
to be carried — ^these were marched along in the centre, 
and at half-past seven we left the house and set fire 
to it. As we marched away, the twitter of a bird 
sounded a particularly good omen on our right. We 
take a last look around on what ' three days ago 
contained every article of Dyak luxury, in readiness 
for feasts after plentiftd harvests of padi and heads, 
the latter brought from our friendly villages. Now, all 
are in ashes and cinders ; a few hours more, and the 
females will return to weep and wail over the com- 
plete loss of all their cherished goods, their heirlooms 
haaded down for generations. Fortunately no female 
lives had been taken, and no captives. 

Again we entered the old jungle, passed the remains 


of the unfortunates who tried to oppose our progress, 
and marched, with the exception of an hour at mid- 
day, until sunset, when we stopped at our first encamp- 
ment. Some parts of the road had been excessively 
slippery, and the batangs were nearly impassable; 
however, my eyes and feet were in walking order, 
and I could go as weU as any of them, carrying a 
rifle, a hundred rounds, pistol and sword ; the latter 
I have foimd better slung over the shoulder than 
on the waist, as so much depends on the balance 
and free play of the body at the hips in walking over 
a batang. 

22nd, — We set off earlier than usual this morning ; 
our party was assisted by light hearts, and the thoughts 
of getting home again ; at all events, this was the case 
with myself. We kept in good order, and marched 
faster than before. Many of the Dyaks had gone on 
before light, and would be at the boats at an early 
hour. We passed through the clear ground where I 
had shaken hands with Sadji, and in another hour had 
reached the boats, as fresh and comfortable as possible. 
A delicious bathe, and some wine and water, were the 
first things to have — ^then a lounge in the boat in thin 
clothing, with that exhilarating feeling of lightness 
which one experiences after a Turkish bath. During 
my enjoyment in the satisfaction that our trials were 


well-nigh over, a rush was heard with tumultuous 
yells, and armed people were dashing back over the 
path by which wo had come. I soon learnt that the 
" Iron Anchor " and Pangeran had been attacked in the 
rear, and within five minutes two Dyaks rushed to my 
boat with drawn swords, carrying a head yet gory and 
dripping, which they dashed down in front of me — 
they were violently disputing the ownership of this 
dreadful article. I knew each of them, and directed 
one to take it home, promising that the case should 
be properly settled on arriving at Sakarang. The yells 
and cheers were deafening, and it was sometime before 
I could get the particulars of what had happened. 
After the noise had somewhat subsided, ** Iron Anchor " 
and Pangeran came to me, and told me, as they were 
marching and bringing up the rear about three miles 
off, a party of Dyaks came down the side of a hill 
close to them. The Pangeran hailed, and asked them 
who they were; the answer was, "we are of one 
(Balla) force." Our party hailed again, and then fired ; 
two of the strangers fell dead, the others took to flight. 
On Sandom following them up, he saw Sadji with a 
large party fully armed, for the purpose of making an 
onslaught on our rear. The Pangeran fortunately 
could recognise the Dyak tribes, and well knew their 
craft, and different costumes. Our party escaped 



unhurt, and Sadji, who had, I subsequently was told, 
vaunted that he would get forty of our heads, and 
mine among the number, ran for his life, leaving twa 
dead behind him. And this was the last we saw 
of the enemy upon this my first large expedition, 
returning from which I found myself in a very 
emaciated condition, and with a great difficulty in 
drawing breath for some months after. To what this 
was owing I could never find out. 

23rd. — ^This morning we set off down the river in 
boats, but there were many most annoying hindrances. 
The Kaluka people were worse than children : in 
coming up they refused to bring their boats, and now 
declined walking down to them, trusting to others, 
all too crowded as they were. Hour after hour I was 
detained with these people, whom I could not leave 
to their fate. A few boats were smashed on their 
way down : one man climbed a tree to reconnoitre, 
off which he fell and was killed. 

After gliding over the Ambuas rapid we prepared 
the coverings of our boats in a more substantial 
manner, and then stopped the night The next 
morning on passing Nakodah Brahim's village, he 
came to me, and looked somewhat surprised when he 
heard our news ; he spoke as a straightforward fellow, 
but he is so crooked in his ways that no reliance can 


be placed on him. An old Pangeran came also, and 
bespattered me with yellow rice as a thanksgiving 
after danger. We pulled the whole of that day, 
thinking little of adverse tides, as every one was 
anxious to get home. The "Jolly," with Mr. John 
Channon, waa lying at the mouth, and had letters 
from the Rajah, to whom I sent a report of our suc- 
cessful expedition, which was read out in open court in 
Sardwak as a victory. 

Our party was much cheered and welcomed on 
arriving at their homes. During our absence, several 
reports had been brought of our having been sur- 
rounded and all put to the sword. My first night on 
a bed was delicious, and it was mid-day before I 
opened my eyes, with a feeling of relief from aU care 
and trouble. I cannot say all this is so enjoyable 
after all, and I have never experienced any actual 
delight after a successful operation, but generally a 
low melancholy and wish for retirement. The muscles 
of my legs were considerably contracted by the con- 
stant wet, and I was stiff for a length of time ; but the 
application of ELayaputih oil (I believe in England it 
is called cajupute oil, an invaluable medicine in these 
coimtries), and gentle exercise, soon brought me round. 
The Dyaks for some weeks gave a great deal of trouble 
in the division of their plunder ; some of the people 


who remained at home, and refused to follow, were 
iined. Shortly afterwards I went to Sardwat for a 
change, and to obtain medical treatment, my breathing 
organs being provokingly out of order, refusing to play 
without pumping very heavily. 

September^ 1856. — Seldom have I heard of Dyaks 
embracing the Mahommedan religion, and there seem 
to be two reasons for this. First, their love of pork fat 
aflFords a great inducement for them to remain in the 
creed of their fathers ; secondly, the character of the 
Malayan race does not display power or honesty 
enough to constitute any proselytising agency. A 
Banting Dyak chief had lately been misconducting 
himself in various ways, and in consequence, received 
a cold shoulder from most of his tribe, and lost hia 
household; he then, making a virtue of a necessity, 
became a Mahommedan. A few days after his con- 
version took place, some of the Malays and Dyaks 
were sitting with me, and one Pangeran extolled 
loudly the act of Malong, and said, " God Almighty 
has opened his heart to the truth, and received him 
into his safe keeping," at which a Dyak chief exclaimed,. 
" We do not mind so much Malong having entered the 
Islamite rehgion, but we find fault with his having no 
heart at all, and leaving all his old friends, relations, 
wife and family, without a regret ; but as he has now 


separated from us, we wish him weU.** My remark to 
the Dyak was that he spoke the truth, but, as a rule, I 
never say a word for or against in religious matters. 

October^ 1856. — ^A party of Chinamen were about 
to take up their abode in Batang Lupar for the 
purpose of working gold, and this led me to hope that 
it would prove the cause of a more prosperous state of 
trade and revenue, &c. I proceeded up the river to 
mteet the Dyak chiefs about the land, and the Chinese 
would be to a certain degree under the superinten- 
dence of those chiefs; so, as usual, a conference 
was held on the ^und. I asked them whether 
they felt inclined to receive strangers into their 
country to work gold, and give them a sufficient 
quantity of land to furnish them with means of pro- 
viding a livelihood. The chiefs seemed remarkably 
pleased at the idea^ and promised them every means 
of support, as well as protection. With this under- 
standing I proceeded to look for the gold, further 
inland. We bivouacked for the night on the banks of 
a gravelly stream, but the insects were so numerous 
that I could not close an eye, and to my disgust I 
found a leech had got into my ear, and this it took 
some time to withdraw. In the morning we clambered 
the high mountains of Batang, and took up our quarters 
under a large overhanging rock, capacious enough to 


aflFord shelter for thirty people; the side of this hill 
was steep, with some rivulets running down ; in these 
gold was found in small quantities, but of the very 
best quality. 

A fine expansive view presented itself from this 
mountain over the low land of Sakarang bearing N.E. 
The Dyaks often come to this rock to dream, and 
commune with spirits, preparatory to committing 
some outrage. The sides of the hills have rocks 
cropping out, and among these there are holes, with 
numerous bats flying about at the entrance of them ; 
thousands might be killed with a stick. Dyaks are 
fond of their flesh, and say it is sweet ; we caught a 
few about the size of a rat and very clean. Natives 
say these cavities enter a long way into the moimtain, 
and they related one incident of a Dyak who was half- 
witted and lived nearly all his life in this locality. 
One day while in search for bats, he entered a cave, 
and when inside fell asleep ; on awakening he had for- 
gotten the way out, had followed another path, but 
lost himself for more than a month, at the end of 
which he came out on the other side of the mountain. 
He told his relations he had kept himself alive the 
whole time on bats ; that often he saw daylight peeping 
through several apertures above and around him, but 
not accessible as exits; that he wandered he knew 


not where, among the many crevices; and when he 
slept the bats fed off the tops of his fingers, his ears, 
and lips> and in dayUght he retaliated by feeding off 
them. My companion told me this man's name, and 
declared some living people saw him when he came 
from his wanderings in the cave, where his relations 
thought he was dead, and they saw that his ears, lips, 
and fingers had been gnawed off. 

This is a magnificent country for the cultivation of 
pepper and coffee ; the soil is excellent, and tobacco, 
Dyaks say, grows luxuriantly. 

November, 1856. — ^My principal Orang Kaya had 
lost his wife, and was now in great distress ; lounging 
about, badly clothed, without head-dress or jacket, he 
looked the picture of misery. He sadly wanted a 
head, and proposed a shamefully treacherous scheme 
for getting one from the up-river Dyaks, which I let 
him understand very freely would not do on any 
account, and told him, as a chief and an old man, he 
should set a better example. He was labouring under 
this monomania for weeks, but I did not give him 
entirely the cold shoulder, as I found a little gentle 
sympathy and coaxing was the best means of keeping 
him quiet. After two months he gave up the thought 
as a bad job, and then took unto himself a young wife 
of low rank, and in so doing gave great offence to all 


his old family, who would not receive the new acquisi- 
tion in the same house. Besides this, he had married 
before feasting the spirits raised by his late wife's 
death; and the other chiefs held a council for the 
purpose of fining him. He told them, " You may do 
what you will ; if I have behaved wrong, I am ready 
to pay a fine according to custom ; but I am now the 
same as a Malay, for I wear breeches/' By a parity 
of reasoning, a Lingga Dyak Christian once told me 
his wife was all prepared to become a convert to 

Christianity, because Mrs. had given her a gown. 

Two elderly men (Lingga Dyaks) called on me one 
day in my small bungalow, one of whom was a Chris- 
tian named Jalaping, a disagreeable-looking though 
good-natured fellow, and more disposed to let his 
sinews for hire than most of these independent herds. 
His manner was somewhat affected, owing to inter- 
course with Malays ; and when he was admitted into 
one's presence, he always rushed to seize the hand^ 
which he raised to his mouth and nose, leaving often 
some imprint of sirih and penang juice on it This 
was the height of exquisiteness. Many, however, of 
the more primitive tribes offer their fists, and some- 
times assume the most extraordinary attitudes through 
nervousness. But to revert to my friend Jalaping,^ 
who had been sitting with his companion chewing 


siiih, with, I believe, extreme emptiness of thought, 
while I had been bathing ; after this, while whistling, 
as was my wont on such occasions, and handling the 
hair-brush before a looking-glass, Jalaping observed: 
"Tuan, what makes the noses of the white men so 
large and straight? Do your nurses pull them out 
every morning when you are young 1 or is it natural V 
Being somewhat nonplussed for a reply, I answered, 
" Sigi Berkenia'* (naturally so, or only so); and he 
added, "Ours are always so soft and small, and do 
what I will to mine, I can^t make it improve/' 


Braitin — Yiatois — Summoned to Sar&wak — Small-pox — Boogh 
journey — OonY^rsation with Mend — Our adyentuies — ^Pleasure 
on airiyal — Speedy return — Stunning report — ^Departure— Euro- 
peans at Lingga wounded— Departure for Sar&wak — Meet the 
Bajah — Appearance of things — Useless apprehensions — The 
enemy's flight— Their extreme distress— A panic— My return to 
Sakarang — Dyak head-taking — ^Pursuit — ^Night watching and 
pulling — Quids return— Alligator's grip — ^Wonderful recovery — 
Expedition to Sadok — Sandom again — Ascent of Sakarang riTer — 
Scenes — Confidence of Dyaks — Communings — Council of war — 
Land march — Sight of Sadok— Sudden fresh — ^Ascent of mountain 
— First alarm — Second ditto — Wounded and killed— -Ni^t 
quarters — Summit — Iron anchor — ^Fortify our position — ^Parties 
foray below^— Enemy in rear — State of camp— Continued rain— 
Our last attack and fEulure— Obliged to descend— Enemy's yelling 
—Beach boats — ^Disasters of ditto— Our descent and troubles— 
Safe airiYBl at home. 

December, 1856. — ^A friekd who had been suffering 
from a low state of health joined me in my small 
abode on Braiim Hill. The clear and exhilarating 
atmosphere of the place soon wrought a change in 
his condition. We especially enjoyed the moonlight 
nights, and sauntered about till very late hours. I 
indulged in one long march over hill and dale with 
gun and 4^gs, and viewed, I believe, as fine a tract of 
country as man could set eyes on. The highest hill I 


crossed did not exceed 800 feet, and the ridge appeared 
to extend about ten or twelve miles ; then a vale, and 
then another ridge of the same description, and be- 
tween them a high mountain of about 3000 feet, pre- 
senting a striking peep of beauty and grandeur. This 
mountain is a good way off. At its foot the Chinese 
are working gold, and the intermediate vales are used 
for Dyak farming ground, and invariably possess 
sparkling streams running through them. The soil 
is super-excellent, washed down from the slopes on 
either side in the rainy season. I dream of a period 
when this fair land will be covered with plantations of 
sugar or other commodities. Beyond doubt it is well 
adapted for cultivation. I called at one Dyak house, 
the chief of which I knew well, as he had been my 
courier on many expeditions, and was a good blunt 
fellow, with the limbs of a horse. His right name was 
Egu, but he had been dubbed Jowing, which is the 
name of the poisoned barb of the Sumpit arrow. 

In returning the sun shone piercingly hot, but a 
thick towel wrapped roimd the head, or some large 
leaves placed under the cap, protect the most important 
part, and the face only suffers. This is not of any 
consequence, as good looks are of little consideration 
in jungles, activity and strength of muscle being the 
only physical qualities really prized. 


A party of Dyak ladies visited us some days ago, 
and after sitting a while, the young married one of 
the party, named Dundun, said she had climbed the 
hill purposely to ask if we were clever at Imtchingy or 
bergamah, as her aunt was sick and had been afliicted 
for years ; all their doctors had failed to cure her. 
This girl was tossing and fondling an infant quite in 
civilised fashion. Another girl of darker hue and jet 
black eyes, with rather a wicked expression, informed 
us she was glad to make our acquaintance, as now 
she would ask for tobacco and beads whenever she 
felt inclined They don't consider such remarks as 
begging, and my friend opened the treasures which he 
had brought purposely for such visitors, and dealt each 
a bimdle of beads. Two of them were presented with 
a small mirror into the bargain. I complained of his 
partiality for the prettiest. They, however, seemed to 
take it as a matter of course, and shortly after bade us 
adieu. They were all above the average in looks, and 
all nicely dressed, decorated with the white shell 
armlets which are so becoming in their way; but 
the disfiguring juice of the sirih and betel nut was 
bestowed freely over their lips, which reminded me 
of Peter Pindar's line — 

<* A lady's lips are chetiies steeped in brandy." 


Small parties of Dyak women are frequently to be 
seen wandering over these hills, and never without 
carrying a knife, which they use for various purposes, 
particularly for cutting vegetables or other edibles. 
On meeting any of them the never-failing questions 
pass — ^Where are you going? or From whence have 
you come ? It is desirable to answer politely ; but 
the Malays always make some far-fetched or round- 
about reply to these simple creatures. 

My friend returned to his home with restored health 
and vigour. A little change and society generally set 
one up when hipped or low, which is a common occur- 
rence in our lonely state of life. Miss Martineau, in 
her " Eastern Life,^' gives some useful hints on keeping 
the mind from flagging. I believe a good book, even 
a novel, and a profuse perspiration, are indispensables 
in this country for health and happiness. 

The day after the departure of my friend, while on 
my way to Sakarang, I met a man bearing a letter, 
which I found was an express from the principal 
official in Sardwak^ requesting me to proceed there to 
be present at the Chinese New Year, at which time he 
had received intelligence that the Bank Chinese gold- 
v^orkers, under the plea of erecting a new idol in the 
Tepakong, were coming in force to attack the place, 
overthrow the Government, and establish their own 


independent rule. There were yet ten days in which 
to make the necessary preparations of boats^ &c., and 
unfortunately at this juncture my principal Sakarang 
leader, Abang Aing, was laid up with a second attack 
of small-pox, which had been for some months plajdng 
sad havoc among our people. Indeed, near the mouths 
of small streams the stench was most oflFensive from 
the decaying bodies. When first taken with the un- 
mistakable symptoms, they were left to look after 
themselves. The consequence was the disease proved 
fatal in almost every case. The poor creatures had 
not the remotest chance of recovery if delirium attacked 
them ; but where inoculation was practised, the aver- 
age amoimt of deaths did not exceed one per cent. 
The inhabitants (particularly the Dyaks) have an 
extraordinary fear of this disease, and never speak of 
it without a shudder. On making inquiries after a 
person's health, the question is put in a whisper for 
fear the spirit might hear, and it is termed by various 
names, the most usual being jungle flowers or fruits. 

But to return to the thread of my narrative. Abang 
Aing, the Malay chief, had himself been conveyed to 
the fort. He was then suffering from bad feet, the 
last inconvenience of small-pox. He had suffered very 
severely, and no one had been more anxious about 
him than myself, for I well knew his loss would be 


irreparable. He spoke very kindly and to the pur- 
pose, telling me plainly he did not like the sound of 
reports, and begged me to be careful. He regretted 
he could not go himself, but would send a younger 
brother, and urge the Orang Kaya to accompany me, 
and he promised to arrange so as to follow me if 
anything serious really occurred. No Christian could 
have offered advice in a kinder tone or better spirit. 
I had acquainted my Mend with what was occurring, 
and he joined me at the mouth of the lingga, and 
we proceeded in the same boat, a heavyish one, but 
capable of standing a certain amount of sea which we 
expected to encounter at this season of the year in 
the north-west monsoon. After one day's work we 
were obliged to seek shelter in a small creek. The 
.surf was a foaming and roaring mass all along the 
coast, so here we stayed happily in a haven until a 
favourable opportimity presented itself. There was 
not a single habitation on this stream, and the mos- 
quitoes by night, and sand-flies always, somewhat 
pestered us. Moreover, there was not a dry spot of 
ground in the vicinity. The banks on either side 
were of black mud, covered with a network of the 
mangrove roots, which extend far out into the sea at 
high water. The next stage of soil, which has been 
reclaimed, produces the nipah palm, and in the next 

TOL. I. 9 


drier stratum than this again the beautiful nibong 
pahn flourishes, interspersed with a variety of other 
jungle shrubs. 

In consequence of the inclemency of the weather, 
and after attempting to make way more than once, 
the time for action began to draw nigh, and I was 
becoming anxious ; so after making enquiries about the 
distance by land, we started on the sandy beach at 
low tide. My Mend and I left the crew to make the 
best of their way on the first lull. We had to wade 
many streams, which were deep in mud, and in the 
centre of one we nearly came to a standstill altogether, 
but pulled our legs through after the greatest difficulty. 
We were surprised to meet a crowd of women and 
children making their way towards this low water- 
mark for shell fish, or any other kind of edible mon- 
strosity ; they passed me without heed, but at a little 
distance, when confi-onting my companion, they set up 
a prodigious yell and fled, some in one direction, some 
in another, and rushed screaming far away. We were 
much amused at this demonstration, and could only 

account for it by supposing that Mr. ^'s beard had 

been the cause of the panic. His apparel too some- 
what added to his commanding aspect — ^he wore a 
tight jersey, with a big white towel round his head. 
This, and his tall figure and long black beard, must 


have occaaioned consternation among the female 
fishers, who had hitherto probably never evolved such 
a being out of their inner consciousness. 

We reached the mouth of the Samarhan river in the 
afternoon, and foimd a boat, which, as we considered, 
the importance of the service entitled us to take. And 
now there were nearly thirty miles before us by water. 
The sun was smarting hot, as it only shines before an 
approaching shower ; and the hotter it is, the harder 
it pours afterwards. With only two lads, and without 
a covering "of any kind, we commenced our pull. My 
friend's occupation was to keep the water bailed out, 
as his paddling powers were limited. He expressed 
himself gradually stronger and stronger against all 
rebellious Chinese, and dedaced the heaviest penalty 
should be inflicted upon such reprobates. We had to 
get out and dance our crafb over some of the points 
where the surf ran heaviest, and at length entered the 
mouth of the Sariiwak river ; with the tide still running 
ebb, our progress was slow. Just after entering, it began 
to rain in torrents, with-a squall in our teeth, against* 
which we could not move, so we jumped on to the 
mud bank, pulled the Ught canoe among the nipah 
palms, and sought what shelter we could among the 
leaves. The cold rain gave us plenty of water to 
drink, streams running down the centre of the palm- 

p 2 


leaves, and in a minute we were drenched to the skin ; 
and in five more, we were so cold as to be shivering as 
if snow had been a foot deep on the ground. When the 
squall had somewhat abated, and the flood tide had 
made, we again set off, iand making slow progress 
ascended the river ; it was a comfort to pull, just to 
keep the blood circulating. All boats were crouching 
under the banks, covered id with mats and emitting 
volumes of smoke, in which the crews were happy. 
How the eyes of the natives can stand it, has always 
been a mystery to me. One of the lads with us was 
of considerable respectability ; his father, who resided 
in Sardwak, had been for a length of time attached to 
the Government. This youth was a sharp fellow, and 
iad worked all day with the greatest goodwill and 
.activity. He now requested permission to stop for 
la few minutes at a garden, where he said he could 
•obtain some fruit I could not object, but thought 
the detention anything but agreeable, and pine-apples^ 
.although nice at other times, would not be proper food 
for shivering people, for whom alcohol was much better. 
He kept us waiting an unconscionable length of time, 
until my friend was nearly beside himself with vexation, 
and his emphatic vociferations amused me so much 
as to cause me to forget all other discomforts. We 
reached Sardwak at 9 p.m. ; it had not ceased raining 


the whole way up, and we had been on the tradge and 
pulling since 8 a.m. On getting on land, we rushed 
about, stiff and cramped, to obtain warmth, and in a 
short time a kind Samaritan came to our relief, and 
made us some super-excellent punch, telling us while 
we were enjoying it that considerable alarm had been 
felt for our safety. An express boat had just been 
despatched for the purpose of picking up our remains 
on the sea-coast, and the dinner had been left on the 
table untouched, in consequence of the fidgettiness of 
our friends. It was now ready and at our disposal.. 
Greatly was it enjoyed ; and our adventures and misv- 
haps were related with much gusto while we sat upv 
until a late hour enjoying the society of old frienda. 
People may preach that it is bad to indulge in con? 
viviality, and by so doing we injure our health and 
scandalize society in general ; but he surely must be a 
poor mortal who does not feel the enlivening influence 
of a social glass. No bad effects followed from our 
wet skins, and it had been an agreeable cruise to me,, 
as I had a friend who was always pleasant in con- 
versation, and so peculiar under difficulties that he 
caused even these to be a source of enjoyment. 

In looking around and listening to a variety of 
reports, there was no very alarming news. Enquiries 
had been made in the locality of the Chinese as to the 


origin of this intended outbreak, but without any 
certain results. There had been also some reports of 
hidden and secret paths having been constructed by 
their company, but none could be found. They had, 
moreover, been troublesome so often, that reports of 
dangers were now passed lightly over. So after a 
week of civilised life among friends, my comrade and 
I returned again, pulling our boat through a sweeping 
surf, in which we were once or twice very near filling. 
Many things were thrown overboard to lighten her ; 

and Mr. ^ while lying in a drowsy sea-sick state, 

told me he thought every moment it would be the 
turn of his own box next, and he was lamenting the 
loss he should incur of so many small valuables which 
he had intended enjoying in his solitary abode. 

On returning to Sakarang^ my usual routine of life 
was soon resumed ; the natives brought their cases for 
daily settlement, and visited me for the sake of a 
chat and a little tobacco. My new fort was getting 
into shape, and this was a source of great interest to 
me, as I had been the architect. 

February^ 1857. — ^Days passed without any parti- 
cular incident to mark the time. One day in Feb- 
ruary, in which I had had an unusually severe attack 
of fever, and in the cool of the evening as I was in a 
dreamy torpor after the eflfects of the illness^ one of my 


Lingga fortmen rushed into my room, and in an ex- 
cited and breathless voice exclaimed, " Tuan, the news 
is sorrowful — ^the Rajah is killed, Mr. Crookshank is 
gone to the jungles, and is supposed to be dead, and 
the remainder of the European community are either 
killed or fled in all directions/' 

Now I am not particularly Kable to excitement, and 
at present I was too much reduced by the fever, and 
my Itones ached too acutely, to permit of any sudden 
movement ; but at length I tumbled out of bed, and 
soon found it was useless making further enquiries, as 
the bearer had only gathered the news from others, 
and not actually witnessed the facts. I thought, how- 
ever, it might be true, and concluded at once that the 
Chinese this time had accomplished their long-pro- 
jected design. A short note from Mr. Fox (who was 
the Resident in Sadong river) was also brought to 
me, and I wish I could here insert it, as a braver and 
more earnest-toned view of man's duty could not be 

Before ten minutes were over more than a hundred 
men, with arms at their sides, had come into the fort, 
and I was in the midst of them in my dressing-gown. 
The boats were to be launched, and I resolved to start 
off in an hour with Abang Aing, who was now re- 
covered. The fort soon became crowded with people 


— a moving mass in the dim lamplight : most of them 
looked anxious, maay whispered in groups, others 
approached, desirous of showing sympathy, but did 
not know how to do it A few vociferated, others 
swore in a determined manner they would murder 
every man named Chinaman ; but most sat quietly 
on their haunches. My fortmen were busy arranging 
arms and ammunition among the crowd, and then I 
addressed them, saying " That I had heard the news ; 
and if they were desirous of having any other leader 
than myseff at the present time, either Abaog Aing or 
any one else they may like to appoint, I would wil- 
lingly yield up the position ; but whoever was leader 
should do his duty, and the remainder follow and 
assist him to the utmost." None responded or replied 
to what I said, so I left directions about the safety of 
the country, and the main part of the force was to 
foUow when they had provisioned themselves, and 
were properly equipped with arms and other neces- 
saries. I had stopped all workmen, to decrease ex- 
penses ; and Aing and I started off in a boat which 
was small but very fast. We had with us twenty-two 
picked followers. I had dressed myself in native cos- 
tume, to prevent any Chinamen picking me out for a 
pot shot, not that there was anything peculiar about it^ 
as I invariably used a Malay dress. What with the 


excitement and strong doses of quinine, I was fast re- 
covering, for the fever never lasts long after the crisis 
is over. Generally speaking, the only harm done is 
that it leaves one in a low, dejected state. The next 
morning, when a little below the mouth of the Lingga, 
we met a boat which we soon found contained Euro- 
peans ; and on closing her, found the bishop, his 
family, and nearly all the white community of Sard- 
wak were in her, on their way to Lingga as a place of 
refuge. Not a little was my delight to hear of the 
Eajah's safety. This alone brought sunshine over 
me, as I was not doubtful for an instant that our 
native force would be suflficiently strong to smash the* 
rebels, and re-establish the Eajah's rule. He had 
issued directions that Lingga was to be the rendezvous, 
and he was expected the day after, as further proceed- 
ings were to be discussed there. Mr. and Mrs. Crook- 
shank had arrived there the previous evening, both 
severely wounded. The table of justice was converted 
into a bed-place for Mrs. Crookshank, whom only a 
month before I had the pleasure of meeting for the first 
time in glowing health and beauty. Her life had been 
saved by a miracle, and her patient endurance under 
such a trial deserves the highest admiration and praise. 

Mrs. , careworn from excess of fatigue and 

anxiety, with an infant in arms, accompanied me to 


my small quarters, which were soon filled with men, 
women, and children. There was little room and no 
comfort, but there was perfect safety to life, and no 
fear of any enemy approaching them. As the Rajah 
did not arrive on the succeeding day, I left for Sard- 
wak; and when bidding farewell to the woimded, I 
felt exasperated with the Chinese miscreants, whom 
cowardice only had prevented from committing more 
serious outrages. On arriving in Sardwak, I found the 
Eajah on board the Borneo Compan/s steamer ** Sir 
James Brooke,'' anchored off the town. 

Her smoke had been descried as he was leaving for 
Lingga ; and on her entering, he proceeded to the 
town in her, and after a few shots sunmiarily delivered 
by her captain, the rebels fled, leaving a few killed 
and wounded. It is not my intention here to give a 
detailed account of this insurrection, which has already 
been so ably narrated by Mr. Spenser St John and 
others, but a few of the transactions subsequent to the 
first outbreak (and to my arrival in Sarawak), I will 
presently mention. 

The Rajah I found to be only the worse for bad feet 
He had received severe wounds here on the night of his 
marvellous escape, but otherwise his health was good ; 
and now he was busily employed writing letters, and 
endeavouring to regain that prestige which had been 


80 materially damaged. Our great difficulty was to 
recover some part of the reVenue, now entirely 
scattered There was not a bit of a document extant 
to tell the tale of former times. A mass of ashes, and 
confusion, and ruin lay around. Half-habitable debris 
of houses only were left. The trees for many hundred 
yards around the fires were nearly all burnt black and 
leafless, and those remaining alive were drooping. 

The work before us was to make the most out of 
the wreck, and to renew the tumble-down fortifica- 
tions sufficiently to defend ourselves when the steamer 
left. Our party was unpaid, and consequently dila- 
tory ; but by dint of patching and hammering the 
planks were refastened, and with angular towers the 
place was again defensible. Ere many days we for- 
tunately recovered a small quantity of opium, and 
this gave us some means of improvement. We lived 
aboard the steamer, and without wishing to be un- 
grateful, I never had worse quarters even in the 
jungles. Never a night passed without our getting 
wet by the rain pouring through the awnings, and the 
lower deck was rendered poisonous by a fresh coating 
of red ochre. We wexS not permitted to live ashore, 
as danger was apprehended ; however, our affairs were 
progressing as favourably as the most sanguine could 
expect. The Dyaks had arrived, and proceeded to 


their work of vengeance immediately. Eeports were 
daily brought of the rfmnber of Chinese that had been 
put to the sword. The nearest place held by. a picked 
body of the rebek was distant about twelve mile& A 
small force of Malays, and several hundreds of Saka- 
rang and Saribus Dyaks, were organised to attack ity 
and we were much delighted on hearing of the suc- 
cessful result. The same evening, when the shrill 
yells of the Dyaks were resounding in the distance, 
and I casually remarked that they had taken heads^ 
poor Mrs. Middleton, who was standing near, and had 
had two children mercilessly hacked to pieces by the 
ruffians on the night of the insurrection, exclaimed, 
"Ah! that is music to my ears!"' The Dyaks had 
brought a number of trophies, which the next morning 
were being cooked on the banks in front of the Chinese 
shops. The respectable Chinese traders recognised 
some of the leading rebels to be among the dead, and 
showed their marked satisfaction that such was the 
case. The Rajah now took up his quarters in the fort^ 
and we all collected there, and, in comparatively reduced 
circumstances, messed and lived together. We were 
thoroughly merry, and as far ^removed fix)m despond- 
ency as could be, for fortune already seemed smiling 
on Sardwak. The fact that the current of events had 
run so smoothly up to the present time, fiilly accounted 





for the panic produced on the minds of the population 
when the Government was so nearly overthrown in a 
single hour. The white man's rule had been hitherto 
considered invulnerable, and the simple people never 
dreamt that any attempt could be made to shake such 
a foundation. Some apprehension had been felt for 
the good faith of the people of Lingga, but there was 
no cause for alarm, as unless the natives had been 
absolute enemies at the time, they would not take 
such an unfair advantage of adversity and misfortune, 
as to commit further injuries on the European com- 
munity. Throughout my experience, with very few 
exceptions, the inhabitants have been kind and sympa- 
thising in hours of difficulty. 

After we had lived a short time in the fort, a report 
was brought that the Chinese had fled, and abandoned 
all possessions on the banks of the river. The Rajah 
then determined to push on to Berlidah, which is 
about twenty-miles from Sardwak, and this was to be 
the basis of operations. We accordingly took up our 
quarters on the same spot as had been inhabited a 
few days previously by the rebels, who had left little 
behind them but desolation and misery. Our native 
force of Dyaks and Malays commenced their attack 
on the Chinese without any further delay, and pro- 
ceeded inland for that purpose. The following day a 


report was brought that the Chmese had departed from 
Bauh, and were in full retreat towards Sambas, Once 
having passed the border, they were dear of our juiis- 
diction; but the dogs of war were at their heels, 
harassing and cutting them off upon every oppor- 
tunity. Thdr plan of retreat was very skilfully ar- 
ranged, and a fanatical idea of the infellibility of their 
Joss (idol), which they carried with them, kept them 
in order. We were helpless to a certain extent, in 
being unable to gather together an organised force, or 
we should have routed them without doubly and fear- 
ful loss of life would have been the consequence. In 
looking back on these events, it was perhaps forhmate 
that we were not able to act more unitedly against 
them ; but if it had been within our power at tliat 
time, the Joss undoubtedly would have been over- 
turned, and the people exterminated. The most 
mercifdl of men could not deny that they had richly 
merited such a punishment. 

They protected this image with the utmost 
caution, keeping their women and children closdy 
around it, while their bravest men acted as a guard 
on the outside. They had advanced a considerable 
distance before the Dyaks approached. The Dyak 
leaders, on closing, were at once shot down. This 
made the others more cautious ; but they had an idea 


that killing a fowl and killing a Chinaman were 
about equal in point of difficulty. But the Chinamen 
had our best rifles and arms, with all the necessary 
accoutrements belonging to them. The Dyaks, whose 
swifhiess of foot left the more stolid part of the force 
behind, then changed their tactics, and did not dare 
appear in the open road again, but entered the jungle 
on either side of the enemy, and thus harassed them 
continually, cutting off every straggler without mercy. 
The Chinamen were powerless to foUow these wild, 
cat-like fellows into the dose jungles, and were obliged 
to submit to their fate as they best might. The road 
over which the rebels were retreating was one con- 
tinued track of clothes, valuables, silver, plate, and 
dead bodies. To enable their retreating force to gain 
a few minutes while passing precipitous places, they 
strewed the road with rice, and threw here and there a 
valuable article to retard and keep off their pursuers. 
This continued for several successive days, during 
which the Chinese must have suffered most intensely. 
They were not even able to cook or sleep by night or 
day. They now arrived at a point which must have 
ended their career, if it had been properly held. This 
was Grombang Hill, which forms the fipontier between 
Sambas and Sardwak: here was a long Dyak house 
past which the Chinese could not go imless the in- 


habitants were fevourably disposed to them. They 
were obliged to come to a halt here, and defend them- 
selves. The ascent of the hill is exceedingly steep and 
rugged, and during the two days they remained in this 
position, they had time to parley with the Dyaks in 
the fipont, with whom they had been in the habit of 
trading for years. However, this alone would not 
have provided them with a safe-conduct, if they had 
not resorted to liberal bribery. The consequence was, 
that our party, on rising and reconnoitring one fine 
morning, found the enemy had fled past this last diflSi- 
culty, and were safe on the Sambas side. Many of the 
Dyaks, however, still pursued them, and they kept up 
the ferment about guarding the Joss, which the Dyaks 
called "Tuan Pekong;^ they told me that they 
thought it to be a woman made of gold. Tepakong 
is the name of the most sanctified idol, and, with the 
delight of a little variation, wliich so invariably takes 
place, it had been received by the Dyaks as Tuan 
Pekong, being thereby invested with personality. On 
several occasions the Dyaks spoke to the rebels, who 
expostulated with them, and asked why they should 
be so hostile. At length the Dyaks returned, having 
done their work very effectually, though irregularly, 
and the Chinese escaped to Sambas, where they were 
all immediately disarmed, and placed under strict snr- 


veiUance in the Dutch jurisdiction. They were in a 
starving condition, and told their tale of woe in a 
deplorable tone, as only a Chinaman can when he has 
once lost spirit. It is a well-known trait in their 
character, that they are daring and audacious up 
to a certain point, but on meeting with any severe 
reverse they lose spirit, and behave in an utterly 
dastardly manner, giving way to the most child-like 

Shortly after our return to Sarawak, a Dutch man- 
of-war steamer called to oflfer assistance, and H.M.S. 
"Contest" also [arrived, commanded by Sir. W. Hoste, 
to oflfer protection to British subjects. Her captain 
lived at the table of the happy family for some days. 
Nothing further in this episode in Sardwak history- 
happened at the time ; it was the first shake she had 
felt, and it must be confessed a severe one it was. 
Although there was no cause for alarm or apprehen- 
sion, yet for years after, the population were so 
nervous, that the most frivolous accident occasioned 
a panic. One that occurred a few days ago, before the 
Chinese were attacked at Lidah Tanah, was ridiculous 
in the extreme. "We heard, first of all, a suppressed 
clatter of voices, gradually rising in tone — silenee in 
one direction, but the noise increasing until it ex- 
tended far and wide, and the words, " The Chinese are 

TOL. J, Q 


coming I " were audible. Then yells and screams 
followed, with the quick clatter and splutter of the 
Chinese language. 

The Malays pulled their wives and famihes to the 
boats, to be ready for immediate flight, either up or 
down the river ; and the Chinese traders concealed 
the Sarawak colours — ^some displaying the rebel's 
banner instead. This confusion was very absurd, for 
no one knew the cause, nor were we able to find out, 
within hailing distance of the steamer. So I pulled in 
the direction where the sound first arose, and found 
that a few Malay women had been gathering some 
over-ripe padi from a neighbouring farm. While 
doing so, one stumbled over the carcase of a dead 
Chinaman ; she shrieked, and the others shrieked 
also, and so the alarm spread far and wide amongst 
thousands of souls. All being quiet again, I took my 
departure, for Sakarang, after a six weeks' stay in 
Sarawak. The party had returned from Lingga^ and 
were safe at their homes* I was 3ome days on the 
voyage, as my boat was heavily laden with cattle, 
of which the Eajah had made me a present 

The Sakarang fort was nearly completed, and pre- 
sented a fine-looking exterior. All the Dyaks gazed 
at it in wonder when they came down to trade. It 
was merely a strong fortified house, well protected 


from any sudden surprise, or treacherous attacks. A 
sketch of it is to be seen at the title page. A rough 
estimate of its cost amounts to about 3501., and the 
material is capable of lasting eighteen or twenty years. 
The weather was now delightful, with the sun hol^ 
but the air well cooled by the soaking the earth had 
received during the north-east monsoon. 

The morning of my arrival I sat among a crowd of 
people, partly of my own followers, and some from 
the village, and gave a detailed account of the pro- 
ceedings that had lately taken place in Sardwak. One 
gets in the habit of spinning yams, and fighting battles 
over twice, when topics of conversation are so limited. 
I entertaiued some doubts whether the late Chinese 
rebellion in Sardwak would not make other doubtful 
friends restless, and this had hastened my departure 
from Sarawak. On the afternoon of my arrival, as I was 
about to indulge in a siesta afber the late fatigues, two 
Dyak chiefe came expressly from Saribus to tell me a 
head-hunting party was alert on the coast. This was 
trustworthy news from old friends, and I at once 
determined to stop any further onslaught. It was 
only a party of five boats which had crept out of some 
of the creeks in Rejang waters, commanded by Sadji 
and Lambur ; the former had taken a head, and his 
boat was seen returning into Saribus sounding the 



head yells — and Lambur was still hovering about in 
search for one, and was supposed to be bound for the 
mouth of this river, which was unprotected. 

I must confess that it was with considerable re- 
luctance that I again made ready, as I was quite 
prepared to enjoy a few quiet nights ; but it would so 
certainly have been at the expense of some lives at the 
mouth, that my conscience would not have rested very 
peaceably. So getting my boat again in readiness, 
and summoning my boy Bagus, a favourite follower, 
I asked him whether he would accompany me ? His 
instant reply was — ** Of course ; if you go, we must 
follow." Taype soon had a boat's crew ready of 
old followers, and we set off. My kit on such an 
occasion was scant, — clothes, two of each sort, mat, 
one small pillow, one shawl — ^given me by a dear 
sister, which seeming to be everlasting ; the shawl, and 
sister's love too, it is to be hoped, — a sword, double- 
barrelled smooth bore, blunderbuss, telescope, rice in 
abundance, salt, a little salt fish, a few bottles of 
sherry, a little brandy, two cooking utensils — one for 
boiling rice, and another for hashing anything. My 
boat's crew were not very particular, seeing their 
master so frugally supplied ; and there is little doubt 
that Sir Charles Napier's theory is a true one-^if a 
man is in health and strength, he requires little, and 


nice gentlemen, who can't move without their making 
as much display as a dancing mistress, should not soil 
their fingers in primitive countries. We started just 
after sunset, and Aing was to follow the next day, 
as a man with a family and numerous wives could not 
be expected to move without some longer notice. "We 
pulled from 5 p.m. until midnight, when we reached 
the mouth of Lingga, but did not enter. No mos- 
quitoes could disturb us that night, and aQ hands 
snored as soundly as if they had been in beds — 
luxuries they had not seen for two months. 

At dawn, two small canoes with a few Banting 
Dyaks in them were passing, and I sent them with a 
message to the chiefs, telling them to follow without 
delay, and knew it would not take them long to be 
under way. I was glad to find that we were in time to 
prevent the enemy committing any devastation at the 
mouth, as they had not been heard of, or seen to pass. 
Again we pushed on another thirty miles, and took up 
our quarters in a small stream on the coast, named 
Si Ludam ; and here lay in ambush by ourselves. The 
Saribus river was only six miles off*, and at its mouth 
the enemy were reported to be waiting with four 
boats; however, I did not dare go with our single 
boat to meet them, as the risk would have done no 


At night we drew our narrow craft outside to watch, 
so as to keep the enemy fipom passing, or if they had 
entered they would probably have sunk us ; we had 
arms, but they possessed numbers and strengtL We 
held on to a pole aU nighty the moon shining brightly ; 
the mat awnings were collected, and all the muskets 
ready at a moment's call. The boat's crew were divided 
into two, to keep watch half the night each ; I kept 
the j&rst part with one, and Taype the second. K 
the enemy had approached, we should have cast off 
and been ready to keep our distance while blazing into 
them. Taype was roused at midnight, and rose 
rubbing his eyes. His first remark was, " Ah ! I thought 
you were going into Saribus yesterday; if so, we 
should have been demolished without salt, for what 
could one small boat do against theirs?" Then I 
rolled myself in the shawl and slept soundly as a babe, 
until day broke, and the glorious orb was casting its 
shadows over the distant hills, and through the haay 
cool atmosphere. We again put into our creeping lair 
to be out of sight, and arranged the coffee, so bright 
an element in the traveller's happiness. When the 
tide had fallen sufficiently, the boat's crew dispersed to 
seek for edibles for our breakfast, with their persons 
immersed in mud and mire. A watch was set on a 
point to signal if any boats were seen approaching. 


"We were successful in getting some fish, which had 
long feelers, and looked like dog-fish ; these are puUed 
out of holes in the mud bank. People often get nasty 
wounds from the spikes on their backs, which are 
extremely poisonous, and the pain produced often 
catises deliriimi and fever. JBrandy is the antidote. 
The natives have a barbarous plan of treating such 
wounds, viz., heating a wire till it is red hot, and 
then introducing it into the wound to cauterise it. 
But the poison has entered the whole system before 
this operation can be effected. 

A log was brought to our boat covered several inches 
thick with oysters, pulled up from the bed of the stream. 
I was soon contemplating a dish of them warmed up 
with rice with no small degree of relish ; they were very 
sweet, but I had some fear that shell-fish off wood would 
be unwholesome. However, no bad effect happened to 
me, but some of the crew were unweU in the course of 
the same day. We spent all the day by ourselves ; in 
the evening a boat passed us going to Saribus ; unfor- 
tunately our flag was showing above the bank at high 
water, and the stranger's crew must have discovered it. 
That evening we watched as on the previous night, 
and at one in the morning we heard the hroohy 
hrooking of many paddles coming from the Batang 
Lupar, and before morning we had a force of twenty-five 



largish boats. We cooked early, and started directly 
the tide was favorable. An hour's pull took us to the 
entrance of Saribus, where there is a small creek, and 
here we found the unmistakable signs of Dyak cooking, 
and other remnants, showing plainly that our enemy 
had been here only the day before, but had gone, most 
probably, on hearing the news from the strange boat 
of yesterday. The question was now, whether they 
*had returned home, or were stiU prowling about, for 
Oyaks wiU not go back to their homes, without using 
every effort to gain a head, so we determined to pull 
^or Kaluka, and examine all the intermediate small 
creeks and bights in the w^ay. We pulled and searched 
all the day without any success, and when night set in 
and our party had taken their last meal, we arranged 

to creep up Saribus river noiselessly in hopes of 
meeting the party, who might have been only a short 
distance fi'om us, with their boats hauled up in the 
jungles. At 9 p.m. we advanced, and it much int<3rested 
me to see the plan of battle array the Dyaks adopted. 
They placed their boats abreast of each other, but each 


one about three feet farther ahead than the next, close 
together, allowing only room for the paddles to be 
used. Thus they proceeded in a still evening, with a 
decreasing moon glittering over the ripples, rising and 
casting a reddish hght over our wild but noiseless 
squadron. We pulled in this way for about ten miles, 
and I really thought more than once, I saw boats, but 
they either made off in time, or they were not boats at 
all, such a light being very deceptive. Just after mid- 
night we drew into a small creek called Samarang, and 
there slept. 1 was awakened early the next morning 
by hearing voices calling to us, saying our boat was 
swamping, and rose to find that we had been so hard 
asleep on one side, that the gunwale was on a level 
with the water. "We returned to Sakarang, stopping 
only a short time to cook, and with paddles alone 
pulled one hundred miles between 7 a.m. and half-past 
six in the evening. The tide had been with us the 
greater part of the way, but many never would credit 
the distance done in that time, and it remained a feat 
for the boat's crew to crow over for years. Afterwards 
I retired to my bed that evening for the first time since 
hearing the stunning report of Sarawak's downfall, and 
the Rajah's death. 

While at Sakarang I was summoned by an old 
Dyak lady to attend her son, who had been seized 


by an alligator when returning from his fiann. 
He was bathing at the landing place, where a few 
poles were driven firmly into the bank to prevent 
the large log, (which is used as a passage to boats) 
from swaying to and fro with the tides. A huge 
alligator seized him by the foot, and was pulling him 
down when he caught hold of one of the poles. The 
monster pulled so strongly that he was obliged to 
release his hold of the upper pole, and seize a lower 
one, to which he clung for his life. Fortunately a 
boat approached, and the alligator then dropped his 
foot and made off. 

The wounded man dragged himself up the bank and 
there lay exhausted, with his foot merely attached to 
the leg by a small piece of flesh. The wound was 
ghastly, with the bones protrading just above the 
ankle. Some of the nerves must have stiU been un- 
severed, as he had some sensation in his toes. I could 
do nothing but give him clean cloth, and recommend 
him to keep the limb cooL A doctor, I suppose, 
would have at once amputated the foot The man 
did not appear to suffer any acute pain, but was in an 
exhausted condition. 

Four years subsequently to this event the same in- 
dividual walked into my house, informed me he had 
quite recovered, was married, and had a young &mily. 


On examining the limb, I foimd it was six inches 
short, and he was walking on the end of his shin 
bone; the foot was drawn up and useless. I asked 
biTn if he had since retaliated on the alligator tribe. 
He replied, " No, I never wish to kill an alligator, as 
the dreams of my forefathers have slwajs forbidden 
such acts; and I can't tell why an alligator should 
have attacked me, unless he mistook me for a stranger, 
and that was the reason the spirits saved my life." 
I feel sure no European would have recovered from 
such a wound without medical treatment 

Another expedition was in view, which I had ob- 
tained permission from Sardwak to undertake, viz., to 
arrange a force to make an attack on Sadok, a moim- 
tain supposed in Dyak annals to be impregnable. 
Their legends and songs make mention of it as being 
the Grand Mount, towards which no enemy dare 
venture ; and our arch-enemy Rentap had been located 
on it since the fall of Sungei Lang. He was here 
supported by the Sakarang Dyaks located in the in- 
terior, who were hostile to us, and also by the inhabi- 
tants of the interior of Saribus, who offered every aid 
and assistance so long as he occupied this eyrie, which 
stood as a nucleus and basis far removed from danger, 
and to which they all might, in case of need, retire to 
find a haven from the stranger's rule, which thwarted 


their head-hunting propensities. He was called Eajah 
Ulu (inland Kajah), and was the centre of all the 
opposition to the rule of the Kajah of SarAwak. His 
fortification was small, and near 5000 feet above the 
sea, with precipitous approaches almost on all sides of 
it. With the force I had at my disposal, the under- 
taking was no light one, and yet no force could be 
really better adapted for the kind of work, although 
quite undisciplined 

My intention was to pass over the top of Sadok 
mountain, march down to the head of Saribus, and lay 
waste the whole of that country, then on my way back 
try Kentap's fort, after his supplies, both men and 
food, had been swept to a distance. 

Sandom was again the guide, and we were deep 
in council night and morning. Strips of "Times" 
newspapers were arranged over an extensive flooring, 
exhibiting the difierent streams and branches, moun- 
tains and pathways, with marks where houses stood 
The acuteness of Sandom was not to be surpassed. He 
was a dry, plain-spoken fellow, without the hesitation 
of deceit or nervousness. What he related one could 
not have any doubt about. I had held an inner 
council of war in my bedroom, consisting of five of 
the principal chiefs, for the purpose of sounding them. 
They merely replied, that if I thought it desirable to 


make such an attack, of course they were willing, and 
must follow. 

May, 1857. — ^After that I called a council of Dyaks, 
and told them to be ready at a certain time. Up-river 
communication was stopped. The Eajah had engaged 
to take a force from Sarawak to Saribus, which would 
act as a blind, while I proceeded up the Sakarang in 
small fast boats. 

While talking with Sandom one night, he indulged 
in a glass of wine, and the next morning informed me 
that his dream had been very adverse. " In fact,^' he 
said, "I feel all in a tremor about it now.'^ The 
purport was, that he was running from a wild animal, 
which chased him with gaping jaws, within a few 
inches of his "chawat^' (waist-cloth). The glass of 
wine had caused a nightmare to the abstemious system 
of Sandom, who was different from other Dyaks, never 
touching tobacco or sirih, or any other food than plain 
rice and salt. And now my thoughts and dreams 
were all directed and concentrated towards the destina- 
tion of the coming expedition. I could not read or 
converse on any other subject. I seldom passed a 
night without starting up and repeating some oration 

in the Dyak or Malay language. My friend Mr. 

joined me, and was very anxious to accompany the 
expedition, but I steadily refused to take any other 


European with me. He was not a strong walker, and 
was now snflfering from sickness ; therefore, in his case, 
it was out of the question. It grieved him much to 
be left behind. I was averse to take any volunteers, 
as the charge even of a native force occasioned me 
intense anxiety, and the addition of Europeans, unless 
they formed a sufficiently strong body to defend them- 
selves in the event of their breaking down while 
marching, would be too great a drawback. I simply 
went singly on those expeditions to act as an adviser, 
and be protected as a queen ant among thousands of 
workers ; still in that position I often found the work 
was more heartbreaking than glorious. The native 
feeling and policy, after being persuaded to enter far 
into the enemy^s country, and when hemmed in with 
dangers, was to protect and stand by me. Any 
separation and straggling, or disobedience of direc- 
tions, they were perfectly aware, would have led to 
our entire annihilation ; and as long as they moved in 
a mass under one director no harm could come to the 
force. My old boat was painted and prepared anew, 
and her colours were waving by the bank, besides 
about a hundred other boats of all shapes and sizes, 
some very gorgeously fitted, whose crews were loiter- 
ing about awaiting the start Sadok was up the 
Sakarang river, and within only a few days' journey. 


The force, therefore, had to be collected before we set 
forth in a body, as havmg to wait afterwards for 
loiterers and laggers, the news would travel far and 
wide, and obstacles would hinder us at every point. 

June 2nd. — ^We had collected the force a short dis- 
tance above the Sakarang fort, and this morning 
started in a drizzling rain. The Sakarang Malay boats 
were leading, I following, and I would not allow 
Dyaks to go past my position, as it would have led to 
much confusion and disorder, besides causing aU the 
water to be fouled, and made imdrinkable. 

Sandom, as usual on such occasions, led the way 
with two small boats. We stopped to-night at Len- 
tang Batang, the outer limit of friendly Dyaks. Here 
there is a boom across the river, to prevent an enemy 
from passing down to make an attack. A long Dyak 
house is situated on the bank, and the inhabitants keep 
watch over the boom. Between this point and Sadok 
the population are neither friends nor enemies ; and as 
yet are Uttle to be trusted. Above and around Sadok 
all are enemies of the blackest dye, and towards them 
we were bound. 

Our fellows were amusing themselves in the Dyak 
house, and peals of laughter were coming from it. 
Upon such an occasion revelry is indulged in to almost 
an imlimited extent ; and everybody considers he has 


a right to chaff passers-by as he thinks fit. On such a 
force passing any woman pulling about, the whole 
body commences hemming and coughing significantly. 
We passed one elderly lady this morning, when the 
young men began their jokes, of which she did not 
seem to approve, and turned round, saying, "You- had 
better meet with success, before you laugh at women." 
But in most cases they are as light-hearted and jovial 
as the stouter sex, and generally more skilful at 

June 3rd. — ^We proceeded, pulling at a steady pace 
all day, although the weather was gloomy and drizzling, 
which damped the ardour of our party. We met 
Dyaks, who were not a&aid of us, and were quite in 
the dark as to the movements of such a force. The 
Karangans (gravelly beds) were very close together, 
but in poling in our light boats, we made speedy way. 
It is a stirring scene to behold this performance, by 
men who have been all their lives at such work, and 
are now in their element in light canoes, with every 
man standing and striking the poles sharply down and 
lifting, as it were, their skiffs over the numerous im- 
pediments. Over reach after reach this continued. In 
the afternoon the sun shines forth, and the weather 
clears up. We stop on Kaxangan Bakki, and regard- 
less of any regulated guard, where all keep their quota 


of watch without being ordered. We set to work in 
diflferent ways to prepare for cooking at night, and 
arrange resting-places. The small boats' crews haul 
their boats up, and make langkans ; others, parti- 
cularly the lazy Malays, keep to their boats for cook- 
ing, &c. Our men are behaving remarkably well, 
doing little injury to the surrounding gardens, which 
they have been warned not to touch, although the 
ancient custom was, that anything by the roadside is 
anybod/s when on an expedition, and this is generally 
adhered to. 

June ith. — At 7 o'clock we regularly advanced, 
before which one had time to take coffee, biscuit, and 
a bathe — ^three invaluable necessaries before a man is 
at all himself; and then the work commenced, and 
was carried on uninterruptedly, with the exception of 
half an hour's rest at mid-day, until 4 p.m. I always 
found that three or four days of such wet and weary- 
ing labour were as much as Malays could stand ; affcer 
that time many became sick with fever and ague. We 
met several Dyaks to-day, who spoke to us without 
any uneasy feeling, and did not attempt to run away, 
not even the females, I waa particularly pleased with 
this sign of confidence and good faith in them. We 
did to-day the same distance aa had taken us three 
days to do, when proceeding to attack Sungei Lang. 



We stopped on a large Karangan. On arriving at this 
point we met a small party of Dyaks, who were stay- 
ing here on their way down the river ; the head 
man was known to me, and he declared he had not 
heard a breath of any force being under weigh, and 
said about two hours ago, while sitting on this gravelly 
bed, he concluded there must be a large body of boate 
coming up the river, as the place where he was sitting 
was soon Covered with water, by the swelling of the 
river, and there had been no rain to cause it He 
spoke as if it were a certainty ; but I could scarcely 
credit such a fact, because the incline of the river is 
steep, and this place must have been considerably 
above the level of where we were. While sitting on a 
big stone above the Karangan, I surveyed a grand and 
inspiriting scene — at least it would have appeared so 
to most people ; but for mj^elf, a heavy gloom had 
been steadily settling for some days over my mind, 
though I was quite at a loss to account for it 

The sun had sunk in brightness, leaving a mellow 
light in its track, and twilight was fast fading into 
night, when our fellows cheerfully lighted their hun- 
dreds of fires for cooking ; and the many blades, sur- 
rounded by the merry voices and countenances in 
expectation of the coming meal, told me it was now 
time to retire and partake of my bit of dried fieh and 


rice, seasoned by a few wild vegetables, which really 
afford a delectable meal. 

June 5th. — ^We reached Sungei Antu ; and a little 
above this stream, on a rocky island, we decided to 
stop. The island afforded a good look-out around, 
and a fort placed on the top would be able to secure 
an extensive watch. 

We thought of the danger of a fresh coming down, 
but as this was the driest season, no one apprehended 
anything of the kind. After an hour's rest, the party 
commenced to use their parangs (swords), and the 
island was soon stripped of its wiry-looking brush- 
wood vegetation. On the lower side of it there 
was a very extensive Karangan of shingle stones; 
the banks of each side of the main river were 
steep and hilly. Some spears were thrown by the 
enemy from the banks on some of our party, and one 
man was brought back severely wounded ; this acted 
as a caution for them to take more care in future. 

June Qth. — Parties were bringing in wood, and erect- 
ing a fort which was soon completed, with two rows of 
strong palings around it. Besides, the boats' crews 
threw up some kind of temporary fortifications around 
their boats — ^which were fastened as close as they would 
lie to this island — ^and by the banks. We left forty 
men well armed in the stockade, to take charge of 



the whole remaining boats and baggage. All things 
of any value were stowed away in the stockade. 

At 4 P.M. the grand council of war was held on the 
Karangan, which was crowded with human beings. 
Our force mustered about 4000 souls, 500 of which 
were Malays. In addressing them first of all, I said, 
"It was my intention to attack the upper Saribus 
inhabitants, to get at whom we should have to cross 
over the top of Sadok, and in proceeding I wished to 
advance without making any halt on the mountain. 
When the attack of the Saribus was finished, while 
returning we might make an attempt on Rentap's 
fort ; but the object of the expedition was to devastate 
the country around the foot of Sadok." Few other re- 
marks were passed. The order of marching we decided 
should be the same as on the Kajulan expedition. 
The Dyaks gave their different opinions of matters, 
and declared the omens had all been highly auspicious. 
They particularly inquired what tendency my dreams 
had evinced. I assured them that they were alwap 
favourable; then we broke up with the intention of 
starting next morning. I may mention that upon all 
such meetings I alwaj^ did my best to dissuade these 
wild fellows from taking the lives of women and 
children. The division of plunder and captives was 
to be settled according to the established custom of 


ages, half to go to the Gk)vernment of all goods over 
51. in value, and half to the man who finds the 
plunder. By this method the Government is able to 
remunerate the Malays, who are the standing force, 
and not permitted to run wild as the Dyaks are. 

The captives are generally ransomed after peace has 
been concluded between the tribes, and instead of 
exchanging prisoners according to civilised modes, 
they exchange captives for jars, each of which is* sup- 
posed to represent the value of a man's life. 

All night the voices and movements of our party 
were heard, and the pious Mahommedans seemed to 
add an extra tone of devotion to their lengthy orisons, 
which lasted far into the dreary hour of night, and 
were recommenced again long before daylight. 

My kit contained the smallest and simplest assort- 
ment. Three suits of each kind of clothes, a Sarawak 
flag, some rice, salt fish and prawns, one small cooking 
utensil, a bundle of tea and coffee (the latter most 
important), a mat, which also answered the purpose 
of covering, made of light leaves interwoven together, 
and one stone bottle containing one and a half bottles 
of cognac ; a double-barrelled smooth bore, single light 
imni4 and 150 rounds for each ; one pistol, sword, 
pocket-book, and Paley's "Natural Theology.'' Most 
of these things were carried by my own followers, or 


boat's crew, who kept in front and behind me, and 
were anned with the best carbines. Aing was always 
within hail. Iron Anchor and Pangeran were ever the 
redoubtable leaders. The rear was commanded by the 
same Kaluka noble, an old man who could not pos- 
sibly run away, and being the descendant of the true 
prophet (a seriff), would be sure to have a following 
in case of danger. 

June 1th. — Early this morning we were in motion, 
and the start is always a disagreeable part of any busi- 
ness, particularly so when one is more or less cramped 
from having been confined to a small boat, with scarcely 
room for lying down ; then to feel the weight of arms 
and ammunition is not pleasant. 

I had entire confidence in Sandom as leader and 
guide. He had ,not only a thorough knowledge of 
the Dyak highways, but he was equally familiar with 
every byeway also. Our route lay over the left bank 
and away to the eastward. We had to ascend a lull 
of 500 feet high, which rose apparently straight out 
of the boats, and was very slippery. This was a 
vyindeTy which brought my heart near the throat, but 
no stopping. From the top of it we descried Sadok 
grandly looming far in the distance, and a succes- 
sion of hills betwixt it and ourselves ; .but after that 
first steep to it, which had drawn a perspiration, I 


koew I was good for the whole day, and the top of 
Kappu, or the one end of Sadok mount, was to be our 
bivouac at night Down we tradged again, and 
walked in the Buak stream for an hour,' after which 
we reached a fiiendly Dyak house, and passed close 
to it, having the pleasure of being invited in by some 
pretty lasses, who came down oflfering presents of 
fowls and other little articles. After a few words, 
and a promise to visit them on the way back, we 
again advanced, and then traced a stream named 
Penabun, crossing over steep lulls between its different 
turnings. Our wings on the march were irregularly 
placed, and it was utterly out of the question to expect 
that the Dyaks could keep in any order over these 
precipitous ups and^ downs. However, they tore 
through many places, breaking their shields and 
scratching their bodies, and often obliged to rest 
for lack of breath. 

On reaching the foot of the spur which leads to 
Sadok, we stopped for a mid-day meal, and to take 
the last look at a refreshing running stream. Eentap's 
gongs were being sounded, and now the whole country 
was aware of our approach. We had a hard ten 
minutes' shower here. I divested myself of belt and 
arms to breakfast on a small gravelly bed ; and while 
douig so a commotion arose, and as I thought it was 


some alaxm of an enemy, I remained still, but in 
another moment a flood of water came down this puny 
stream, and I had only bare time to pick up my arms 
and belt The rice and the 1^ (the latter a sub- 
stitute for a plate) floated away with the fresh ; thus 
quickly freshes come down in these countries, receiving 
an impetus from the streams off the sides of steep 
motrntains. Some of our party had built sheds, but 
I was determined to move on, as Rappu was the point 
fixed on for the resting-place for the night, and I felt 
as strong ad a horse yet. When I gave the order to 
advance, Orang Eaya Gassing came forward and 
expostulated; but something told me if we waited 
here we should have the whole country to-morrow 
holding the steep sides of Sadok against us. So I told 
him I should either advance or return home. The old 
man gave way, but muttered, **You may know the 
tactics of war at sea^ but allow us to be more acquainted 
with land attacks.'' At 2 p.m. we commenced the 
ascent, taking a supply of water with us. Rappu was 
far distant, and it was as much as we could do to gain 
it before dark The Dyaks at first himg back, but as 
soon as they saw we were fairly off, they buckled on 
their things and followed. At half-past four the first 
alarm was sounded by the leaders, which somewhat 
hastened . our steps. I was not tired in the least. 


though the hill was a steep ascent all the way. The 
Dyaks began to be wild, and a peak above us was 
pointed out as being Rappu. We walked steadily on, 
and our van was again progressing, only having had 
a slight brush with an outside squad of the enemy. 
Another half-hour, and another alarm, much louder 
than the previous one, accompanied by continual yells 
and screeches. This time I knew it was an enemy of 
importance, and I called each leading Malay chief by 
name, telling them to advance by my side to assist at 
the fix)nt The Dyaks were now mad on the narrow 
ridge of this hill, retreating in all directions as pale as 
ghosts ; more than once I threatened to shoot them if 
they crossed my path. We advanced, while hundreds 
of our party were in full retreat, leaving arms, &c., 
behind, and many of the Malays were among them. 
Then came Taype, sword in hand, and said, "Your 
force is cut to pieces in front." " Never mind, Taype, 
we must go on and assist, and you come too." He 
brandished his sword and gave a yell, but a few 
minutes after had fallen to the rear. Even the chiefs 
were nervous, and many of them very fatigued. The 
last himdred yards were almost perpendicular, and 
when mounting, I had to pull myself up with one 
hand by the stunted trees ; added to this, there was a 
declivity of thousands of feet on each side. In ascend- 


ing this part not more than twenty men were with 
me. My best fortman was wounded by a spear, and 
to assist him many of the others had left me. And 
now I must give credit to the Lingga people, for they 
were close at hand. I was within about five yards of 
the enemy, who were pitching spears from behind 
some wood on the brow of the hill, while we were 
underneath, aud the spears went flying over my head 
and struck some of our party in the rear. Here I 
stood propped up against a tree, and poured thirty 
rounds from my smooth bore as fast as I could load, 
directing it into a place where I saw a movement 
among the leaves. After this I tried to ascend, but 
the Linggas literally collared me, and one clung so 
firmly to my sword-sheath that he was nearly pulling 
me backwards. The enemy were quieted, and my 
followers kindly promised to take care of me where 
I was, so here we sat on the side of this hill, at an 
angle of about 80°, the whole night. A few cross- 
sticks were placed for me to sit on. The yelling of 
our force soimded for thousands of yards along this 
narrow ridge, all being below, none above. One man 
held a shield at my back, and the youth who brought 
my provisions had never left my side. I told him to 
go to the rear and sleep, but he said, "The enemy 
may mash me where I stand, but I will not leave you." 


Ten minutes after, he was. snoring with his face on the 
ground, and no amount of rousing could wake him, 
I now felt happy, and after having taken three or four 
handfiils of eatables, was satisfied, the gloom having 
quite left me. I did not require the stone bottle of 
brandy that night, as the excitement had been suffi- 
cient. A bright and glorious moon arose and showed 
us our exact position. After an hour the old Dyak 
chiefs came and visited me, and spoke cheerfully, even 
old Gassiug, who observed that he would send on his 
people in the morning to clear all before them. 

There was not another sound from an enemy, but 
gongs were heard in the distance unceasingly. I did 
not sleep, nor did I feel any inclination to do so ; my 
double barrel lay across my legs the whole night, and 
as I sat on the sticks cross-wise, the hill behind was 
steep enough to form the back of a chair, against 
which I rested. Towards morning the wild jungle- 
hill sounds of insects echoed around us, and as the 
dew began to rise firom off the earth, there was a cold 
raw feeling in the air. In an hour more we reached 
the summit of the hill, and found the enemy had 
retired to^Rentap's house, which was situated on the 
brow, at the opposite end of this mountain. We had 
two more killed yesterday by the enemy's spears, and 
about ten wounded, and over a hundred rolled down 


the declivity head over heels, leaving arms and ammu- 
nition strewed in all directions. The Iron Anchor 
maintained his position manfully, and well merited his 
name. He held fast, with his back against a tree, using 
his carbine on every opportunity ; at other times he 
protected his body with a large shield, which was split 
in many places by the enemy's heavy wooden spears, 
showered against the leaders. 

June ^th. — I advanced with the few who were around 
me, and saw the remains of the enemy's position the 
evening before ; there had only been a few of them, 
and I heard subsequently, the chief fighting cock of 
Eentap, named Unsi, was shot through the heart, and 
the party retired late in the evening carrying his dead 
body to Rentap's abode. Now rain came on, hard and 
cold, and our force crouched under any shelter they 
could find, and lighted temporary fires to keep them- 
selves warm ; the cold and wet may have been 
disagreeable, but the smoke of their fires drove me 
nearly beside myself, and I was at last obliged to rush 
away half blinded and wild, the pain in my eyes being 
excruciating. How natives could sit quietly, I could 
never imderstand. When the rain ceased^ we again 
advanced, and with only a few in front of me, I pusheil 
on for what is called Lium's pathway, which I knew 
to be the key of the Saribus country. At the head of 


this we called a halt. The force looked downcast and 
fatigued, but work was in store. Here we built lang- 
kans as usual, and arranged a strong covered platform 
on a tree which overlooked our surrounding habita- 
tions, and around the whole space we erected a strong 
stockade, commanding the path to Rentap's house, 
which was distant about 400 yards. In the afternoon 
the weather began to clear off, when our party cheered 
up a little, but natives suffer much from cold, and I 
foimd my langkan was no better than any of the others. 
The Dyaks took up their positions wherever they 
could find level ground, and the place looked more like 
a migratory encampment of Bedouins than an attacking 
force. In the evening I assembled the Dyak and 
Malay chiefs for a consultation, for the purpose of 
arranging future proceedings, and told them my wish 
was to leave the wounded with a strong body of armed 
Malays in charge of this point, and to go myself in 
charge of the remainder of the force to scour and lay 
waste the country of Saribus. However, my proposal 
was not acceded to, and the Dyak chiefs told me 
positively that they wished me to remain here, as 
they would not trust any native to take charge of 
such a position. They added, " If you advance further, 
we will return," so I was obliged to give in to their 
views. From the night of the seventh, to the fifteenth. 


I lived on this spot, and the events that passed may 
thus be succinctly enumerated. An inspection of 
Rentap's fort proved it to be a house within a veiy 
formidable stockade impervious to rifle shots, witii 
almost perpendicular declivities on two sides of it. 
When I was inspecting it on the afternoon of the 
second day, a loud commotion of yelling and firing of 
shots arose in my camp. On returning I found the 
enemy had made an attack on our rear, and evidently 
had been expecting that the whole of our force had 
advanced towards Rentap^s fortification, leaving our 
rear unguarded. They soon retreated on meeting with 
a warm reception. A few spears were exchanged 
between the Dyaks, some of whom were slightly 
wounded ; one fell over a precipice and did not return 
till next morning. A division of our Dyaks and 
Malays, headed by some chiefs, proceeded on the third 
day. Old Gassing held the Sardwak flag waving on a 
long pole, and I noticed all that passed with a tele- 
scope on the mount. The enemy were sitting on a 
hillock evidently holding a council of war. After 
remaining in that position half-an-hour, they arose 
and came down towards our force, which I could see 
wending its way slowly along a dell between two small 
hills, and then both parties were excluded from my 
view. Shots were fired and distant yells sounded. 


Some time after I plainly recognised the enemy passing 
again over the hillock, as if in full retreat, and then 
our flag gradually ascended. Some hours after, we 
descried smoke in several places, and at sunset our 
force returned to the mountain, bringing news of 
several houses being burnt down. The padi was 
destroyed, few valuables were obtained, and by the 
marks, the female part of the community were known 
to have fled two days before. We had lost two more 
men, and had obtained two of the enem/s heads. 

The next day our camp presented a busy appearance, 
but the weather was provokingly adverse ; rain poured 
all night, only clearing up a few hours in the after- 
noon. The sound of cocks crowing and pigs squeaking 
in camp, gave some satisfaction. Each day parties 
went down and always brought up plunder of some 
kind, principally rubbish. I was in no hurry to move 
home, as if we did not gain some actual success, or 
remain long enough for the reinforcement of the enemy 
to go back to their homes, I was well aware, that our 
return march would be a difficult matter, as spears 
woiJd be flying from every eminence. 

I attempted to persuade our party to storm the 
fortress, and promised if three would lead the way, I 
would be the fourth to make the attack at night. 
This they would not listen to, and so we were obhged to 


remain day after day in our muddy langkans, with roofs 
that were very far fj?om keeping out rain ; my flooring 
was at least four inches in soft mud. It rained almost 
incessantly, and on the first day I had adorned myself 
with the whole stock of my clothes, and had to keep 
them on the whole time I remained in this place. 
Tea and coffee were my great comforts^ and the brandy 
bottle was getting low, but I only allowed myself one 
pull morning and evening. This was sufficient for 
health, for I never felt better or stronger. Numbers of 
the force were laid up with all kinds of complaints, of 
which, perhaps, the principal one was laziness. 

When the weather cleared, we had a magnificent 
view of the country around, comprising many of the 
rivers as well as the sea ; this is truly the grand&ther, 
as the natives caU it, of the surrounding hills. 

The last day we had made up our minds to sally 
forth in force, against Rentap's fortifications, and the 
natives had some hope of taking it, but I had none, 
and as I was for storming, I left it to them to make 
preparations, and for three days a large party had been 
preparing moving and standing stockades ; the former 
were for the purpose of conveying fire under a move- 
able protection, and when sufficient wood was collected, 
with a favourable wind, a blaze w(uj to set it all in 


They deserve credit for working with a considerable 
degree of foresight under the most adverse and trjdng 
circumstances. A native's hands, during the coldest 
hours, could not grasp an instrument for carpentering 
purposes. The stockades were soon completed, and at 
mid-day when the rain ceased we congregated around 
the place. The path to the entrance of Rentap's fort 
was exceedingly narrow, with most precipitous sides. 
I took up my position with a rifle, and watched for 
movements among the enemy, but the active work I 
left to Aing, who, drawn sword in hand, super- 
intended with much activity. The sounds were 
deafening, and the fellows carried the wood and 
materials imder the fire of Rentap s guns. At 4 p.m. 
our party had gained within six or seven yards from 
the outer fort, and the scene was pnily exciting. Our 
enemies evidently were not numerous, and kept as^ 
still as mice, saving the old gong, which never ceased. 
They threw stones from the inside, which fell on the 
heads of our fellows, and muskets were being used,, 
together with a swivel taken from us at the time Lee 
was killed. At half-past five our leaders, crouching 
under the moving stockade, called for fire, and the 
wood collected was in considerable quantities. At this 
juncture Aing fell, wounded from a musket shot ; then 
evening set in, and we were obliged to return to our 


quarters. The enemy yelled in triumph at our failure. 
On examining Aing's wound, I foimd the shot had 
entered below his shoulder, and passed round to the 
back, where it could be felt distinctly. I recom- 
mended its being cut out, which his people instantly 
proceeded to do. He told me not to go near the 
enemy again, now that he was incapable of further 
work. Three or four more were wounded by shot, and 
some thirty to forty had received nasty blows from 

As I lay down to rest at night, after my last sip of 
brandy, I gave up all thoughts of gaining Bentap's 
fortress, but resolved to see what could be done in the 
morning. The greater number of people were out of 
provisions, — mine had been scant for the last three 
days ; and my own covering was chiefly used by my 
poor half-chilled-to-death followers. Underneath was 
a perfect pool of mire, and I can safely say, for the 
whole eight days I never had a dry stitch of clothing ; 
I never washed, or imdressed, scarce even slept, but 
I had not so much as a finger ache, so firmly did mj 
John Bull constitution resist the climate. When I 
rose the last morning, the enemy were yelling, and my 
first desire was to get about a hundred of the strongest 
yoimg fellows together, command myself and proceed 
to Attui, where there were three long houses of ene- 


luies^ about six hours' walk distant. This I promised 
to do in three days, when I would return here and 
march back with the whole force. I could obtain no 
volimteers; some said they were sick, others out of 
provisions, and I was obliged to bow to circumstances, 
and at eight o'clock our party began to descend the 
mountain. The wounded and sick were in the centre. 
I had charge of the rear, or tail, for not more than ten 
men were behind me, with an old Dyak chief, " Em- 
paling," who never left my side the whole march back. 
The enemy were yelling at no great distance on either 
side of us. We passed down Rappu again, and I was 
surprised to find what a distance we had climbed when 
the blood was hot. We had to lower ourselves by 
holding on to the trees. At the foot of the mountain, 
on the other side of Penabun stream, there was a 
narrow gorge with exceedingly precipitous sides, and 
here I felt certain the enemy would molest us, so I 
had my double-barrel in order, and told my followers 
to look to their arms. We passed on, keeping our 
eyes on the alert on all sides, but we got through safe. 
We reached the house with the pretty lasses, but were 
in no condition to pay the promised visit, so making 
an excuse we went on. 

I here received a letter from the Eajah, who was in 
Saribus, to say how anxious he was about us, but 



expecting we should find our way overland home if 
we could not reach the boats. It was some time after 
five when we passed down the last steep which closed 
Sadok from our view. On arriving at our boats there 
was a most dreadful tale of disaster awaiting us : owing 
to the continued rain, a fresh had come down at night, 
about twelve feet high, had swept our stockade clean 
away, and the people had to run to the boats for their 
lives. Over seventy boats were missing, having gone 
heaven knows where ; my own boat had lost aU her 
covering, and had drifted, but was recovered ; and now 
there were at least one thousand of our force boatless, 
standing disconsolately on the bank. The news was 
not encouraging, but I at once persuaded the unhappy- 
looking people to shake down the best way they could 
for that night, and ia the momiag we would do our 
best ; at any rate we would not desert them. This had 
been the first fine day we had seen since starting for 
Sadok, and our fellows I found were not totally dis- 
pirited, but seemed to feel Grod was to be praised that 
they had arrived safe back so far. I enjoyed a bathe, 
and was fresh again. It was a lovely evening, without 
a cloud, and the stars were shining out on us with 
purest lustre. I rolled myself up in a quilted piano- 
forte cover; and after serious meditation upon our 
safe arrival, on past events, and future hopes for the 


next day's labour, and with a sincere thankfulness to 
Him who ordaineth all things, I dropped oflF into sweet 

16th. — ^Morning came, and with it its troubles. The 
Dyaks were going with all speed to escape, having 
their boats filled with passengers. I was standing on 
a point, bellowing my lungs out, and pitching stones 
on those who sought to get past. My temper was sorely 
tried, and do what one could the boats could not take 
all in, so we set to work to make rafts, and by this 
means, after several hours, made a start ; Aing's boat 
and mine were holding the rear, and allowing no one 
to remain behind us. It was really laughable to see 
some of the unfortunate Dyaks floating down the 
stream on logs and pieces of wood. Here and there 
we picked up boats, which were speedily set afloat, 
and the water in the river, fortunately neither too high 
nor too low, took us down at a great pace. At the 
first landing-place of friendly Dyaks, I despatched 
Taype, with 200 of our fellows, to find their way home 
overland, and at an early hour in the afternoon I called 
a halt for the night, as we had come across six of our 
lost boats, some hanging on the branches of trees, and 
some on hill tops. My boat was full to sinking, 
having forty-two men in her, and six hanging on 
astern, relieved by others every now and then. When 


coming down in this forlorn manner^ an old Banting 
Orang Kaya who was with me, and who with all his 
people had lost their boats, clothes, and everything, 
said " It is only the custom of mankind.'' They were 
not all, however, so philosophically disposed; and I 
heard more than once, that my bird this time had not 
been a properly selected one. 

17<A. — ^As morning dawned some arrows were blown 
at us, — we in return peppered the banks with shot, 
and proceeded again in better order than yesterday, as 
our fellows now had boats, such as they were. I 
heard of many people being drowned on the night on 
which the fresh came down, and we had passed two 
dead bodies by the river's side. One Malay as he was 
going down in a boat, sweeping along at a pace of 
twenty mUes an hour, jumped out on seeing a Dyak 
tryiQg to get up her sides, whom he took to be an 
enemy. The imprudent Malay was drowned. Another 
Malay told me he had come all the way down in a 
boat by himself, and never before felt so frightened in 
his life ; he sat motionless all the time, repeating his 
prayers, as it was impossible to do any good ; ten 
hours brought him to the cross boom in safety, having 
drifted more than 140 miles that night by the fresh 
alone. I could never learn how many poor fellows 
were drowned or boats lost that night, but the up 


river Dyaks were well supplied with the latter for a 
year afterwards. Late in the evening we reached 
Sakarang fort, where aU was well and smiling. The 
next day our force broke up, and dispersed to their 
different homes. I wished them good-bye, and they 
seemed happy, looking forward with a considerable 
degree of pleasure to the spreading of news among 
their different relations ; for the narration of their 
adventures is a custom to which the natives are par- 
ticularly partial. And now all the excitement, the 
quicksilver of my system, within twenty-four hours 
was down to zero, for I had no one to listen to my 
narration. The only thing for me wafir— 

" To sit on rocks, to muse on flood and fell, 
To gently watch the forest's shady scene.*' 


Turtles — ^Their egga — ^Trip —Cholera— Superstition — Saribus — ^Balla — 
Intended excursion — ^Defeat of ditto— Advance to Padeh — ^Burn- 
ing of houses — Cholera— Building of fort — ^Fitze Cruickshank left 
in charge — Dyak decapitation — Fiendish proceeding — Beach 
6akarang — ^Mode of Hfe — Dyak interest — Saribus again— Startling 
reports — ^Attack — Loss of enemy — ^Mr. Watson's airiyal — ^Meet 
Saiibus Malays — Conference — My return — Preparations for 
another attack— Ascent of Saribus — ^Laborious work — ^Enoounter 
— Death of Sadji — ^Gtood riddance — ^Further ascent — Our biyouac 
— Fortifications — Inland march— -Steepness of mountains — ^Re- 
marks on marching — Fatigue— Be-enter camp — ^Wounded Dyak 
—Start for Sadok — Mortar — ^Extreme heat — Ascent of mountain — 
Result of mortar firing — Our killed and wounded — ^The enemy's 
ooolness and vaunt — Our failure and descent — Burial of dead — 
Beach boats — ^Downward journey — Sandom's advice — Besolt of 
expedition — ^Undercurrents — ^Bemarks on the style of life— Agri- 
cultural intentions, &c. —Unforeseen occurrences — Disappoint- 

March, 1858. — Eaxly this year, before the sea of 
the north-east monsoon had abated, in company with 
two gentlemen I visited the island of Satang, and from 
thence went to Talang Talang, the resort of the egg- 
laying turtle. In the fine season the average number 
found on the beach at night varies from one hundred 
to one hundred and twenty, each laying about one 
hundred eggs. The people who live on these islands 


watch them closely, and resort to absurd practices 
to entice them to lay — ^feasting, and decorating the 
sands with flags. After having done this, no strangers 
are allowed in the vicinity. Even a Hadji, who has 
charge of the place, makes use of these superstitious 
means. The watchers are obliged to remain awake all 
night, not only to see the turtle come up, but to mark 
the spot by a peg, directly the eggs have been laid, as 
the blind instinct or sagacity of the animal is sur- 
prisingly acute ; and while scraping holes in half-a- 
dozen different places, she will lay her eggs in one 
only, and fill up the hole so as to evade the most 
diligent searchers. Some I have seen in daylight still 
on the sands, and the boys riding on their backs for 
amusement, while they propel their cumbrous bodies 
to the water. They are of a large size, and the eggs 
are valuable as an article of commerce, so much so, that 
the Government has prohibited the killing or catching 
the creatures. The natives are particularly fond of 
the eggs as an article of food : they are not disagree- 
able to the taste when mixed with curry, but when 
eaten without any condiments, possess a dry, sandy 
flavour, which somewhat resembles a stale fowl's-egg, 
but doubtless by the skill of a Soyer they would 
become very delicious. 

This group of islands was formerly a favourite 


resting-place for Lanun pirates before Sardwak was 
governed by the white Rajah; and since that time 
one encounter in a bay took place between the. boats 
of the "Dido" and a fleet of piratical prahus, who 
fought determinedly for a length of time, but were 
ultimately taken and burnt. {See KeppelVs Work) 

We proceeded to the coast, anchoring in a small 
stream named Samatan, and visited the people. The 
village we found to be a wretchedly tumble-down 
place, situated near to the foot of the grand mountain 
of Poe, which is the highest in the Sar&wak territory, 
being 7000 feet above the level of the sea. People 
report that the ascent is gentle, and there is abundance 
of water on the top. A sanitarium placed on it would 
be of the greatest benefit to the Europeans, and 
we eagerly look forward to the time when it may be 
effected, for such a change would be ahnost equivalent 
to a trip to England. The base of this mountain 
occupies a considerable area, and the peaks are not so 
pointed or precipitous as most of the highlands of this 
country. After staying here two days, we visited my 
very favourite spot, Lundu, where I had first tried a 
Malay effusion, in an official capacity, on an aristo- 
cratic Pangeran. Lundu has been the schooling-place 
for many of the Europeans who afterwards were 
appointed to more important stations. The DyakB 


came aboard, and our decks were covered with them 
the greater part of the day and night. My friend 
Alderson gave them many of his experiences, which 
amused them excessively. One old man remarked, 
"The Tuan is very full of fun!'' As I mentioned 
before, these fellows are fond of conversation, and 
never tire of hearing stories told of Europe. We 
visited their houses, and received many presents. 
They show every sign of being a happy tribe, and 
have reason to be thankful, for there are few things to 
make them otherwise than prosperous. The soil is 
excellent, and yields abundance of padi and other 
vegetable products. The jungles are well filled with 
articles suitable for commerce, such as rattans, hard- 
woods, gutta, danunar, fruit, and nibongs — ^the latter 
so useful for building their houses. The river is with- 
out bore, or any dangera, well supplied with fish, cool 
and refreshing, and fed from fine mountains in various 
directions. These mountains are covered with primi- 
tive jungles, and are easy of access, being clear of 
brushwood and undergrowth. Plenty of deer and pigs 
range over them, and are to be had for the hunting. 
The land is speciaQy adapted for coffee and pepper 

We took some small Chinese children on board, for 
the school in Sarawak — ^poor little creatures, mostly 


unfortunates who had lost their parents in the attack 
on the Chinese after the insurrection, and now had 
been recovered firom the Dyaks, who held them as 

We sailed for Sarawak, which we reached after 
three days, and I returned to Sakarang, where I found 
the cholera had been raging to an alarming extent, 
and many hundreds had been swept away by this 
epidemic. It attacked the Malays principally, who 
are the most ill-advised physicians, and appear gene- 
rally to do just the reverse of what should be done. 
At this time they would not touch any wholesome food, 
particularly the flesh of fowls, or other such substan- 
tial nourishment, refusing to spill blood for fear of 
incurring the anger of spirits, but starved themselves 
and drank hot water, and this while in a healthy state. 
The result was, that when the disease did attack them, 
they were so low and weak as soon to sink and die, in 
spite of any medicine. The people lost all confidence 
in the Mahomedan faith, and resorted to the practice 
of feeding spirits, by making little fancy boats which 
they term " Jong ^ — and the inhabitants of each house 
were eager to subscribe their quota of food, sweet- 
meats, &c., to be placed in this bark, which was then 
set adrift with considerable ceremony, to float past all 
the houses, and go out to sea. 


Some of the leading Mussulmans were very mor- 
tified at the superstition displayed by their flock, 
but I believe many of the Hadjis themselves trusted 
more to the propitiation of the spirits by such means 
than to their own prayers. This sad epidemic tra- 
velled steadily along the coast, and attacked each 
place with about equal severity. 

Aprils 1858. — I had for many months been tor- 
mented by the affairs in Saribus, which had been for 
generations the hot-bed of head-hunting and piracy in 
every shape. The people were now — ^partly owing to 
the Chinese insurrection-^becoming much more auda- 
cious, and I found it had been to no purpose holding 
communication with even the Malays, who a few days 
ago refused to receive a letter, and declared they 
intended shortly to ascend the river, and live with the 
Dyaks, and eat pork as they did So it was evident a 
crisis was approaching which would require resolute 
action, or o\xx prestige would be injured in this quarter. 
This we could by no means afford to lose, as stoppage 
of all trade and communication on the coast would 
inevitably ensue. Two Dyak firiends (the likeness of 
one is in Mr. Spenser St. John's book), named Bakir 
and Ejau Umbul, came over from that river, and 
brought intelligence that a fleet of forty large Dyak 
boats were now ready on the Saribus side, commanded 


by Lintong, and were only waiting for Sadji, whose 
boat was building at Paku, about forty miles from the 
mouth, but was not yet completed. Their intention was 
to go to sea, and take heads in any direction. After 
thinking over what was best to be done, I resolved to 
send an express-boat, to SarAwak for reinforcements, 
and at once set to work to put my dilapidated flotilla 
into order. I was sadly in want of large boats, having 
only one fit for use. The Dyaks, I was well aware, 
would be ready directly, but their force coidd not be 
depended upon, except in an irregular fashion. 

In three days the big boat was ready, with a 
3-pounder in her bows, and sixty men aboard, well 
armed and provisioned, and we set off. On reaching 
Lingga, luck favoured us considerably, for here we 
found our small gunboat schooner, " Jolly Bachdor," 
commanded by John Channon, had just arrived, having 
brought some passengers for Banting. I now felt con- 
siderably relieved in my mind at having an extra 
force, which I detained for this important service. 

After embarking, I started with a picked crew, and 
the numerous boate were following in our track. We 
entered Saribus unknown to all ihe population, the 
greater part of which were residing near the month. 
A boat, containing some of the head men, came aknig- 
side of us as we were passing up. Agitation was 


strongly depicted on their countenances, and they 
whispered inquiries of some of the crew whether they 
were to be attacked as well as the Dyaks. I informed 
them that they might follow if they were inclined, but 
that I should ask nothing of them. A short distance 
liigher up we anchored off another village, the chief of 
which was favourably disposed to us. He at once 
came on board, when I told him I had perfect confi- 
dence in him, and wished him to take charge of the 
vessel, to pilot her up past the dangerous shoals of the 
river. He looked anxious, but was evidently proud of 
being the individual singled out for this duty, and 
promised to do his best. He pointed to his son, a fine 
strapping youth of seventeen years, and begged me to 
make every use of him. Our party of boats assembled, 
numbering only one hundred as yet. At an early 
hour the next morning we weighed. The river was 
broad and deep, and the tide whirled us up at a 
sweeping pace. When we brought up below the point 
where the bore first rises, there was some danger of 
being ripped open by the cable as we swerved about 
in an eddy which swung iis round and round, and 
heeled the vessel over considerably ; then a back- 
water would take the bow, bringing it up with a jerk 
against the cable. We started again next morning, 
and soon came to the dangerous shoals ; one touch on 


them would have rolled us over like nine-pins. The 
tide was making about eight miles an hour, and we 
had a few boats towing, to give us steerage-way. At 
one time there was only one foot of water to spaie 
under the keel, and then Channon's face looked sadly 
anxious ; but the lead was useless at such a time, and 
the pilot must trust solely to his knowledge of the 
different sands and difficulties. 

News was brought us that Sadji had abandoned his 
boat, and had retreated up the river, and the inhabit- 
ants higher up were preparing their wives and families 
for a retreat into the interior, leaving only the men to 
defend the houses and property. They had expected 
to find me in a small boat as usual, when they would 
have made an attack with their heavy force, but now, 
they said, I had come in a house, for so they styled 
our small pinnace. 

We passed most dangerous places without an acci- 
dent, and then anchored again for the night : the 
vessel ranged about to such a degree as to keep us 
awake the greater part of it To my great disappoint- 
ment I found the cholera had followed us, and three 
boats' crews had already come alongside asking for 
medicine ; two poor fellows in one boat had the com- 
plaint in the acutest form, and were suffering most 
excruciating pain from cramp. I administered an 


almost never-failing remedy, " The Bishop of Labuan's 
Pill/' and rubbed the men with Kaya putih oil ; they 
were better before morning, and so were all those who 
could take these remedies in time ; but, alas, many 
did not, and died ere the morning sun arose. We 
lifted anchor at sunrise, and a number of fidendly 
Dyaks came on board, or followed close to us, dressed 
in their finest clothes. 

All real dangers in the river were now passed. Hilly 
banks were on either side, and every here and there was 
a Dyak house, out of which women and children peeped, 
and pretty laughing girls in brightly coloured costumes 
waved their hands, and seemed rejoiced at seeing us, 
asking us to stop in their most coquettish manner. 
With a strong tide we swept past beautiful farming 
grounds heavily laden with padi, waving yellow and 
ripe in the morning sun ; and at 9 a.m. anchored at 
the mouth of the Padeh river, which is narrow and 
shallow. There was no room for swinging, so we 
moored head and stem, and hauled our anchor up, 
and hung it on to the branch of a high fruit tree, to 
keep the chain from fouling with drift-wood. Luxuri- 
ant finiit trees were grouped around us on either side, 
that of the luscious durian being most plentiful, and 
very magnificent in size. There was great commotion 

among the inhabitants, who evidently had not made 
VOL, r. X 


up their minds what to do, whether to flee or stay ; all 
our old-established enemies were hi away, but there 
were many others who hovered half way. Some were 
trying to pass with goods and chattels in their boats ; 
these I seized until matters were a little more settled, 
and shortly our vessel's store-room was ftdl of valuable 
jars. A remark passed by a Malay somewhat surprised 
the owners ; he told them that heretofore th^ Saiibus 
had had a heaven all to themselves, different to all 
others, and now they would find out their mistake. 

We housed in and collected arms on deck, and 
arranged a 6-pounder gun so as to point up the river, in 
case any of the enemy's forty boats made their appear- 
ance ; the force was collecting for the whole day, and 
in the evening we held a consultation to decide future 
proceedings. It was arranged that a party should be 
organised to make an attack on the Fadeh stream 
against Nanang and Sadji's houses, which were about 
hatf-a-da/s walk away. I refused to go inland imless 
the expedition remained away for three' days, and in 
the morning, as everything was well prepared, and I 
was ready equipped, a large number of the principal 
men came to beg me to remain, aboard or not, — at all 
events, to stay a night away ; so I gave up the idea of 
going at all, but gave directions that a party of Malays 
and Dyaks should go and lay the coimtry waste within 


a day's marcli of where we then lay. In an hour they 
started, and we could see the line straggling far away 
in the distance before we lost sight of them in the 
jungles. The BaUau Dyaks were leading, as these 
were their old enemies, from whom they had suffered 
so much, and now was the time to avenge themselves. 
At mid-day they descried the roofs of the enem/s 
houses, and shortly afterwards the leaders were attacked 
by a volley of spears hurled from a hillock. Janting, 
with a son-in-law on each hand, advanced, followed by 
his people, and opposed the party with drawn swords ; 
one of his sons cut down his man, decapitated him, 
and Janting himself had come in contact with another, 
when his other son-in-law fell with two spear wounds, 
and woidd have lost his head, if his fsither had not 
most opportunely dealt a terrific blow at his adver- 
sary, and then stood guard over his wounded relation,, 
while the enemy had time to make off, fighting indis- 
criminately with our people. In this scrimmage many 
were woundefl; the Saribus retreated, and knowing the 
country, were soon out of reach. There were no 
muskets on either side, and the Malays were far in the 
rear, and throughout the day evinced great fear, and 
did little service. An advance was then made upon 
the houses, which were found comparatively empty. 
They were gutted of the few things left in them, and 


burnt. Our Dyaks strayed about, and on reaching 
another house they rushed in, and on some of them 
seizing a valuable jar, the rightful owner turned round 
and inquired "What they were about?" whereupon 
our party was attacked, and several of them killed for 
making this foolish mistake of thinking the inhabitants 
a part of their own force. However, the enemies were 
afterwards driven out, and their houses burnt, and our 
party returned victorious. 

The Malays showed the most wholesome dread of 
these enemies, and on the previous day I had over- 
heard one of the head men making inquiry, whether it 
would be possible to overcome such people as Saribus 
Dyaks, who had been victorious for so many genera- 
tions ? These Malays also were exceedingly divided as 
to whom they should ultimately follow — ^\vhether Dyak 
jor white man ; and were doubtful as to our sufficiently 
.•supporting and protecting them if they became really 
.enemies of the Dyaks : however, I was now in a posi- 
iion to clinch their sincerity, being pliced between 
Jbhem and the Dyak community, though if they had 
Joined the latter they would doubtless have given us 
much trouble. I resolved not again to abandon this 
river, but to build a fort and permanently take possession 
in order to guard and establish some system of govem- 
jnent, whereby inch by inch we might hold fast what 


we gained, and so prevent all onr work fix)m being 
undone by Malay rascality. In the afternoon I went 
ashore to choose a spot for building the fort, and cleared 
a large patch of ground well adapted for offensive and 
defensive operations, conmianding the river for several 
miles up the reaches, and with a picturesque view on 
all sides. 

While taking notes of this locality, a tumult arose 
below, which brought about silence among us ; we de- 
scended to the banks of the river in all haste, scrambling 
through the brushwood as best we could. On reaching 
our force I found our Dyaks were fighting among 
themselves, and disputing over the head of an enemy. 
They were making a fearful commotion, the boats 
drifting across each other, and men standing with 
drawn swords in their hands. I saw there was little 
time to lose, so rushed down the mud bank to the 
dingy, and shoved into the midst of this promiscuous 
m^l6e. Janting was the leader, vociferating in true 
Dyak fashion with the utmost exasperation. His temper 
was hot enough to drive him to commit any mischief 
when once aroused. I closed with his boat, placed my 
hand on his shoulder, spoke a few quiet words, asking 
him not to cast disgrace on the whole of the force by 
fighting with his own friends. He at once silently 
slunk inside his boat, the sounds died away, and peace 


was restored ; but such rows are exceedingly dangerous 
and unpleasant. No Malay attempted to interfere, 
and it was only by knowing the man that I was able 
to succeed without resorting to severity, when one 
drop of blood might have led I don't know where- 

I returned to the Jolly covered with mud, and after 
bathing in the cool stream, found Janting sitting on 
deck weeping like a child. He apologised for his bad 
behaviour, and begged to be forgiven, alleging as an 
excuse the excitement of the morning's encounter with 
the enemy, and his son-in-law's wounds ; people wished, 
he said, to seize his property, and he defended it. I 
dressed the wounded man, who was in no danger ; he 
had one job from a spear in his groin, and another 
through his arm, and was in much pain, but the heal- 
ing powers of a native's constitution are surprising. 
The next morning I found our force was breaking up 
to return home ; the cholera had attacked them very 
severely during the night, and several had died within 
a few hours. One poor fellow, whom I had known for 
years, called at midnight for medicine, and finding me 
asleep, the watchman refused to arouse me. He was 
dead before daylight. The Dyaks expressed their re- 
gret at being obliged to leave, but go they must. We 
held a consultation among the Malays about building 
the fort, and they unanimously recommended it to be 


erected further down, as here, they said, it would be 
next to impossible to find supplies. After weighing 
the pros and eons I yielded, and followed their advice, 
so we dropped down a few reaches into more open 
water. The Dyak enemies were hovering about astern 
of us, and some yelled and flourished their swords. 
The Saribus Malays proceeded to cut wood, which they 
were to bring for the building of the new fort. The 
cholera was plapng sad havoc among them; they 
complained but little, though their faces told their 
misery. Fortunately the Jolly's crew had passed 
through their ordeal in Sard,wak, and were not further 

The reinforcements now arrived from Sarawak in 
charge of Ktze Cruickshank. They were very late in 
coming, and no further active operations were in con- 
templation at present. We beached the pinnace on 
the bank, and monotonously awaited the wood. Old 
Abang Boyong had been the active working man, and 
was inclined to favour the Dyak cause, offering peace 
-and reconciliation. His wish was that they should be 
persuaded to pay a small fine, and be received on 
fnendly terms ; but my opinion was, that they were 
far too strong to wish to submit. I, however, permitted 
Abang Boyong to do his utmost with overtures, and 
he had appointed an interview with the enemy at the 


mouth of the Padeh. On the evening of the day that 
the meeting was to have been held, Boyong came to 
me with an anxious face, and in a few words told me 
he had been to the spot appointed, and never had such 
a narrow escape of his life before. As he was speaking 
with two or three fellows on the ground, Sadji's party 
assembled in numbers^ and armed, and hid themselves 
in the brushwood. A few minutes more, and he 
woidd have been taken captive or killed, but for- 
tunately spying Sadji's red jacket in the distance, he 
had time to make oflf in his boat beyond their reach. 
He confessed he had been shamefully deceived by 
their artful designs, and his subdued tone had a quiet 
anger about it. He begged me to follow them up, if 
possible, or at any rate make some demonstration to 
disperse them. 

Before the assembled chiefe in the evening we 
decided the way of procedure, and all were favourable 
except a patriarchal Hadji firom Sardwak, who em- 
phatically exclaimed, " Remember, Tuan, whatever else 
occurs, do not let us have any fighting ! " At an early 
hour on the following morning we set oflF in boats only, 
and, with a strong flood-tide, floated up the Padeh 
stream without making a sound. The bowsman and 
steersman only kept the boat in her proper position ; 
the remainder of the crew, with their muskets, were 


all in readiness. Boyong was in front, and the stream 
was so small as only to pennit one boat at a time to 
pass on. At last, on rounding a point, our enemies 
were seen sitting near the bank, and the leaders fired 
a volley, which was followed by a very indiscriminate 
blazing of musketry. Our boats became crowded 
together, and great confusion and noise ensued. I felt 
in a perilous position, and thought that every moment 
some of our people would shoot each other. As for an 
enemy, none but the leading boats saw one. Some of 
them rushed ashore, but soon returned. None of our 
party had been wounded, and our enemies were dis- 
persed. We immediately retired, or we should have 
been unable to move at low water. We dropped back 
stem first, in the same quiet way as we had advanced. 

This short trip plainly proved to me that great risk 
is attached to a Malay force, unless accompanied by 
Dyaks ; for the latter act as a look-out, and are able 
to cope with Dyaks in jungles, where the Malays are 
next to useless unless they happen to have been born 
and bred among Dyaks. 

The delay and the sickness caused the time to pass 
in the most irksome manner, and my condition was 
weak and wretched, and was made worse by living in 
this small cabin of the gunboat, in which one can only 
sit upright. I seldom passed a night without an alarm 


of some kind- or other, and my nervous system was 
shaky from confinement. One night I jumped up in a 
dream, and pointed my rifle at a friendly boat, but 
awoke just in time to see my error ; so, for a change, 
I left Fitze and John Channon in charge, and set off 
myself overland for Sakarang. It was a most fatiguing 
walk, without any regular path, and the greater part 
of the way over very steep hills, or through miry 
swamps, the latter knee-deep. The distance was about 
twelve miles, with a crooked road, and while pro- 
gressing I thought that no persuasion or pecuniary 
reward could induce me to attempt such an experi- 
ment again. It did not cease raining the whole way, 
and on reaching Sakarang I was glad to find the cellar 
not quite empty ; a bottle of sheny scnnewhat restored 
the inner and outer man. 

I made the most of my one day's holiday, but had 
engaged to return the following day, so we trudged 
back again, and this time I did not feel the fritigae. 
I was much the better for this spurt^ and had re- 
stored my nerves by the rough walking. 

We now went to work at the defence, consisting of 
a single-roofed house planked all round, having a small 
aperture for an entrance, with a long notched pole 
suspended to answer the purpose of a ladder. This 
was pulled up at night, and, with ports closed, there 


was no opening left to admit an enemy. Four three- 
pounder guns were mounted in the upper story. It 
was soon completed, with a large space around cleared 
of jungle and brushwood, to prevent dangers arising 
from an enemy prowling about with fire or sword in 
the vicinity of the building. The house of a good old 
Dyak stood near, and his party were always ready 
when needed. My friend and pilot, Abang Dondang, 
removed his people, to take up their abode close to the 
fort, mustering about 130 fighting Malays. I des- 
patched the pinnace back to Sar&wak, and after 
seeing the place sufficiently secure, placed Fitze 
Gruickshank in charge of the station. He was young, 
but strong and plucky, with an abundance of Scotch 
prudence and plain common sense. After giving him 
the necessary instructions, I left in a small boat, 
and when near the mouth met two Dyak boats^ one 
of which was towing a sampan. On my reaching 
Lingga the next day, I received intelligence that a 
party of Dyaks had been near the mouth of the 
lingga^ had met one boat, which they stopped with 
the offer to sell sirih leaf. When near, the crew drew 
their parangs (swords), cut down one woman, whose 
head they obtained, and took the daughter prisoner. 
The father jumped overboard in time to save his life. 
These were the Dyaks we passed in Saribus river. 


with the captive and head aboard their boat. I de- 
plored at thje time the escape of the raficalfl^ the head 
of whom was our enemy, Sadji; but subsequently 
have had reason to be satisfied that we passed the 
enemy untouched. I was afterwards told that when 
Sadji saw our boats he sat with his drawn sword on 
the captive's throat, ready to cut off her head if she 
had spoken, or we had taken notice of them. They 
would then have gone on shore with both heads, and 
found their way overland to their haunts, and we 
should not have been able to follow in the strange 
jungles. This act of Sadji's was the most bare- 
faced that had been committed for several years, and 
it was evidently necessary for us to take every pre- 
caution, as the fight was to be a hard one. 

I returned to Sakarang, where everything looked 
homely and nice ; as it had ever been my particular 
care to keep my abode in apple-pie order, and not 
to lose all habits of civilisation and neatness. My 
hall of audience was capable of holding six hundred 
men. Along it were arranged the arms between the 
wooden posts, with chairs and tables at each end. 
Occasionally, when lonely, I used to invite natives to 
see the magic lantern, and, with a musical box and 
some dancers, an evening could be passed with mode- 
rate pleasure. The sword-dance is excessively un- 


graceful and uninteresting ; a stiff mode of pirouetting 
round and round is the general figure, which would be 
perfectly useless in actual sword-play. Such displays 
did not often, however, take place ; and one's life is 
particularly monotonous, books alone keeping the mind 
from flagging and becoming unhinged. My garden 
afforded me the next greatest occupation, and plates 
full of flowers were daily brought in and set on the 
different tables in the apartments, wafting a delicious 
perfume of these strong Eastern scented jessamines 
(chimpakas) through them. 

The natives have no idea of the evil reported to 
arise from such perfumes at night, for it is their 
favourite practice to cover their pillows with opening 
blossoms, which are left tiU they are quite faded. 
Most of these flowers open after sunset, and fade soon 
after sunrise, unless they are plucked and kept in a 
cool shady room. My cattle afforded me much in- 
terest, and they were thriving well and multiplying 
fast. But the chief charm which kept me from sinking 
to the depths of despair, was my interest in the 

I remained anxious about Saribus, but had great 
confidence in Fitze's management, and a gentleman 
was expected shortly to reinforce him. However, I 
felt the danger was not to be apprehended from our 


open enemies, the Dyaks, but from the Malays, who 
were with their tongue Mendly, though in their hearts 
sworn and bitter enemies. My object was — and I 
must confess I had little choice — ^to keep matters m 
statu quo until we were again in a position to pro- 
secute active operations. The Dyaks frequently 
threatened to attack the Saribus fort, and shots were 
occasionally exchanged, but they always retreated 
after a few yells. At such a time the Europeans could 
not move from their doors without having armed fol- 
lowers around, as behind any shrub or bush there 
might be a lurking foe. 

At this period a report reached me at Sakarang that 
a party of Dyaks had left Saribus, folly armed. Their 
destination was unknown. They were acting against 
the most distinct regulations which I had imposed 
among the inhabitants of Saribus, namely, that all 
Dyak parties living in that river were to carry a 
Malay pilot, to ensure them a safe-conduct along the 
coast ; those without any on board would be treated 
as enemies. 

On receiving this news, I directed the Banting 
chiefs to meet these Dyaks in force, and attack them 
unless they carried the necessary pilot. Two days 
after this, intelligence was brought that the enemy 
had lost fourteen men, and on the part of the Bantings 


only a few were wounded. The latter had been lying 
in ambush in the Siludam stream, and had surprised 
the enemy^s force, which was commanded by Lingir. 
I did not pity the unfortunates, as they deserved their 
fiate, and would have dealt harder blows to innocent 
women and children if they had only advanced another 
day. Their chiefs, Lingir's, boat was swamped, and he 
was only saved by being pulled into another by the 
hair of his head. He lost all his arms and charms — 
the latter much valued, and only carried when head- 
hunting is their object. 

On the evening after I arrived at Lingga, and while 

Mr. and I were relating ourselves with a social 

conversation after dinner, a Nakodah made his appear- 
ance from Sakarang, and told us he had heard the 
Saribus fort was captured by the enemy, and all the 
arms, ammunition, &c. in their possession. I made 
further inquiries as to the particulars of such a pro- 
ceeding, and was glad to find his accoimt was not 
authenticated clearly ; but it somewhat stunned me, 
although false reports ran rife daily, and inventions 
took place in extraordinary and marvellous shapes 
and degrees. My thoughts were directed towards 
Fitze, and I should have blamed myself for leaving 
so young a lad at such a post if anything had occurred 
to him. Mr. was exceedingly anxious, and he 


eaxnestly expressed his opinion that, unless the 
strongest measures were taken, and punishment dealt, 
the country would be lost to Sarawak rule. The tune 
for mercy had passed, and nothing but the severest 
lesson could restore matters in the vicinity of Saribus. 
I retired to bed fuU of cares, and that night saw my 
arms loaded and primed with extra precaution. In 
the morning I made more inquiries of different parties^ 
and the report seemed to want confirmation. At mid- 
day further news was brought me that three Paku 
Dyaks had been killed on the coast between this and 
Sardwak, and shortly afterwards a boat arrived, saying 
a man had been cut off only a few miles from us. So 
now I made preparations to start, expecting to hear 
more serious details if some prompt course were not 
taken. A large Dyak boat waa equipped and manned 
by Malays, and with a following of Banting Dyaks, I 
set forth for the mouth of Saribus to intercept any of 
these marauders. In the course of three hours we had 
sped on our way some twenty-five miles. At night 
we pushed on again, and crept into the small streams 
as we advanced. WhUe waiting in one of them in 
the Saiibus, we descried a light making for us. Our 
reconnoitring party of two swift boats came in and 
reported a large boat proceeding up the river. We 
put out t6 close with this vessel, although I was well 


aware that it advanced too openly to contain any foe. 
On approaching, I found it to contain Mr. Watson, on 
his way to Saribus fort It was most fortunate he 
had not fired into our wild and warlike-looking force. 
I found him fully armed, with lighted match ready at 
the loaded guns on her top sides, and must confess I 
was delighted to see him for many reasons ; first and 
foremost, for the reinforcement of our establishment at 
the Saribus fort, thereby lightening my responsibility 
in that quarter. 

On approaching the Malay village in the morning 
we found them with their guns loaded, and the savage 
old chief swore before others that he would not have 
armed Banting Dyaks hovering about the vicinity of 
his possessions. A few moments after he said this he 
came to me and asked if I felt disposed to dirty my 
feet by entering his house, I now felt myself stronger, 
and determined to speak plainly to the Malays, who 
had feirly run the length of their tether, and were 
silently supporting and inciting every Dyak head- 
hunting expedition. We all assembled in the chiefs 
house, and my following and his numbered about the 
same. In a longish oration I warned these Malays 
that in future I should hold them responsible for any 
of the Dyak enemies making their appearance past 
their village; if it happened again, they would be 

VOIi. L V 


liable to suffer, as I should also permit parties of my 
Dyaks to scour the Saribus waters at their pleasure ; 
that I did not desire to interfere with them, further 
than requiring them to follow a system of government 
that would not prove detrimental to all our trading 
communities on the coast. To prevent mistakes (and 
those irascals are always apt to make a joke of what 
passes, or place their own construction upon my 
words), I called four principal leaders to be witnesses 
of what had taken place, and to exonerate me in case 
severe measures were taken after this warning. I 
also called for two respectable Saribus men to take 
up their abode in Sakarang, for the purpose of be- 
coming witnesses in any business relating to their 
country, with which they could conmiunicate in all 
matters of importance. Silence followed, but none 
murmured, and all their countenances bore an expres- 
sion of alarm. A few words moi-e passed, and then 
I bid them adieu in a fiiendly way. The old chief 
quietly followed me to the landing-place, and saw me 
shove off with my thirty boats. We returned to 
lingga, and Watson proceeded to the fort up the 
river. On again reaching Sakarang we began to pre- 
pare for a forthcoming expedition to make an attack 
on the interior of Saribus. The inhabitants of the 
whole coast were to be armed and assembled for this 


inland invasion. We had much trouble from the- 
difficulty there was in finding boats adapted for this 
work. Large sized ones were perfectly useless, and 
heavy small ones would cause too much hard and 
trying labour in pulling over the gravelly beds and 
rapids. At length, after many delays, the Sarawak 
force, accompanied by thousands from the coast, 
started, and on the second day reached the point of 
rendezvous at the mouth of the Saribus, at which I 
arrived just after they had proceeded up the river; 
but here I was delayed waiting for my force, which 
I could not urge to move before their padi planting 
was safe. I was exceedingly vexed at this delay, but 
it was partly excused by the Dyaks having been out 
so many times already on the previous expeditions. 
They were somewhat tired of the frequent calls made 
upon them. After three days I went on with only 
forty boats, and on reachiag Saribus fort I found Mr. 
Watson kindly awaiting my arrival. The remainder 
of the force had gone on several days before. We 
only spent one night here, and started before daylight 
in the morning, immediately after the bore had passed. 
Our people having brought one large and heavy boat, 
our progress was retarded, and the work was laborious. 
Early on the second day we saw trees that had been 
felled thickly across the stream to impede our pro- 

u 2 


gresef, and the cutting down was carried on by the 
enemy while our leading party were clearing away to 
Tnake a passage for their boats. This was no easy 
task, and bitterly did I blame my Dyaks for having 
tept me so much in the background as to prevent my 
xifisiflting in this arduous work. The Tuan Besar* of 
Sarawak commanded the expedition^ and was accom- 
panied by other Europeans in the leading division. 
They found some of the trees were eleven and twelve 
feet in circumference, and had fallen over the narrowest 
parts of the stream, which was to all appearance hope- 
lessly closed for some miles by this heap of wood- 
The axes and parangs, however, after very severe 
labour, opened a way, and then our leaders got past 
these impediments, and the enemy retired up the 
liver, finding such hindrances to be of little avail. 
My party had only the trouble of pulling through the 
passage which had already been made. I resolved to 
leave the large boat on the second day. The crew 
dispersed among the remainder of the force, and after- 
waids we advanced at a much greater pace, and 
arrived that night about half way between Saribus 
fort and our destination. Watson and myself lived 
logedier, each offering our quota towards the feeding. 

* Mr. Brooke Brooke. 


I was in remarkably light marching order, and he had 
kindly collected much stock for the party of whitea. 

On the third day we passed a steep hill about 800 
feet in height, rising perpendicular from the banks of 
the river. I learnt afterwards that the enemy had 
been holding the top of this elevation, and were pre- 
pared to shower stones into the boats as they paased ;; 
but the leaders obtaining some knowledge of this dan- 
gerous point, had wisely prepared a force to march 
overland and mount the hiU on the land side before 
the boats advanced. This had the desired eflFect, as 
the enemy, on seeing a party closing on them, made 
off, and left the passage without danger. We wer» 
now close on the rear of the leaders, who were legion^ 
and their din and murmuring were audible foir many 
mUes, like an immense swarm of bees. Our position 
was not an enviable one, although we had escaped the 
hard work. The water was fouled the whole way up, . 
and instead of the beautiful clear stream running over 
gravelly beds, it was now quite undrinkable, and the 
effluvia of the thousands leading was far from agree- 
able. The fourth morning we spoke the rearmost ol" 
the leaders, and they reported the enemy not to be 
far distant. I waited, not intending to join the leaders 
before they had stopped for the night ; but afterwards 
finding they advanced so slowly, my patience was 


exhausted, so I pushed on with a few men in a small 
sampan, not wishing to be known in passing the 
hundreds of boats. While proceeding, a commotion 
arose, with cheers and yells from the leading party, 
and as I advanced the row increased; tales of pro- 
digious deeds and Sadji's name were resounding on 
all sides in this bedlam. At least fifty had already 
declared they had killed him with their own hands. 
Two hours or more elapsed before quiet was restored. 
Orders were given to bivouac for the night. The 
boats were in dense masses for reaches down the river, 
and extended far above this spot. This was the mouth 
of Langit (sky) river. In the afternoon the force set 
to work to strengthen the position by throwing up 
palings around. The boats were rendered safe from 
any sudden night surprises; each party watched 
abreast their own boat. 

Sadji was no more. He had met our leaders at 
the landing-place of his father-in-law, and gallantly 
attacked them, after having been upbraided by the 
inhabitants as the cause of this force coming into their 
country. Only one man was killed, by his side ; the 
remainder made oflF too fast for the Malays to pursue, 
and our Dyaks were yet in the rear, or many more 
would have shared a similar fate. But enough had 
been done on this spot, as Sadji was dead — a good 

DEATH OP SADfl:. 295 

riddance for all parties, for he had given a deal' of 
trouble, and, without being a veiy brave man, was a 
determined enemy as well as an active and dangerous 
one,— always on the alert for head-taking; nothing 
was too high or too low for his bag. His father, 
Orang Kaya Bayang, t^ho only died a few years ago; 
had maintained a surprising influence over both Dyak 
and Malay ; the latter always following his counsel 
for the settlement of their more difiicult and intricate 
cases. Sadji's name and acts had been in my ears and 
dreams for years past. Many a bloody deed had he 
perpetrated, and always had boasted that white man's 
powder and shot would take no efiect on his body. 

As I strolled on the large pebbly bed, listening to 
the few chatterers still awake, and the bubbling of the 
waters, I could not keep my thoughts from the man 
whom I had often met and shaken by the hand — of 
the chequered life he must have lived from infancy ; 
and now his head was undergoing the process of 
cooking in some Dyak cauldron, or being baked over 
the fire, after having been examined by thousands, to 
be taken back for the occasion of a* grand holiday! 
The game he had so often played with poor innocent 
people, who had never dreamt of committing such 
atrocities, was to be retaliated on himself. How 
were these really barbarous customs to be accounted 


for, except as being the result of practices which had 
arisen, perhaps unavoidably by some trifling circum- 
stance in the first instance, to be imperceptibly, m- 
creased and perpetuated into an inveterate habit — ^a 
second nature, felt and relished alike by man and 
^p^oman 1 But let 'us condemn no man or custom, for 
they are unaccountable enigmas. Priests may preach, 
enthusiasts cant, women wail, and peacemakers pa- 
laver, yet evidence favours the fact, that the sword 
alone clears the path for the scythe and the sickle. 

We remained here one night, and at 2 p.m. there 
was a beautiful eclipse of the moon- The people 
awoke, and began howling at it, evidently disapproving 
this irregularity in nature, as it appeared to them, 
They no doubt attached some extraordinary fatality to 
it — ^at least all those who had not been warned of its 
appearance. Fortunately, success had attended us, so 
there was no danger of evil consequences. 

At a meeting I had held before leaving Lingga, I 
gave out publicly that this event would take place, so 
they were not surprised. It is almost necessary to 
attend to the Almanack, to be prepared against any 
alarm arising from such occurrences, which with an 
ignorant race inevitably produce panics. An old 
Malay gentleman told me, only a short time previous 
to this event, that on one afternoon he had seen two 


suns. He declaxed he had never witnessed anything 
of the sort before, and accounted for it by the won- 
derful occurrences that were now taking place. This 
was from a man of rank and calling, who was a re- 
markably clever fellow, but old, and thought the 
world was going round the wrong way siuce his days 
were numbered with the yellow leaves. 

We commenced work early the next morning, 
strengthening the position, at which a large part of 
the force was to remain. There were numbers sick 
already, and many disinclined to proceed further; 
indeed, they would have been quite useless had they 
done so. 

We advanced at 10 a.m. The river was very low, 
and the crews had continually to jump out and pull 
the boats along. Many walked by the banks and 
along the bed of the river. The morning was cool, 
and the shade from overhanging branches prevented 
the sun's rays appearing. There were tumble-down 
houses and sheds all aloDg the banks, which evidently 
had been run np to offer shelter to those who had fled 
from the lower country the previous year. The smoke 
of these dwellings ascended in wreaths, and afforded a 
bright blaze for a few moments. We reached Nanga- 
tiga, our destination, late in the afternoon. At this 
point there are entrances to three rivers — one leading 


to Sadok, one towards the head of Eanotiit, and the 
main stream running into the interior. A place 
could not be better chosen for the basis of opera- 
tions, and a temporary and safe abode for our force. 
The tent of our Commander-in-chief was erected, and 
the remainder made small huts with the coverings off 
the boats. All preferred living ashore to the boats^ 
fearing freshes suddenly coming down, and rolling 
them over. The streams above this point were only 
navigable for the smallest canoes. A paling was run 
up around the encampment, and on the different ele- 
vated spots small towers were erected, with watchers 
appointed to guard the multitude. 

Our Dyak force soon departed to destroy the houses 
in the vicinity, and proceeded, as is their wont, to 
plunder right and left, but returned into camp at 
night. The second day of our arrival here, further 
stockades were made, to secure our position, and the 
place presented a very curious appearance. I made 
inquiry about all the particulars necessary for our 
inland excursion, to make an attack on the Dyaks 
between these waters and those running into the 
Rejang district ; also finding out the style of paths, 
what mountain^ we should have to pass, the relative 
distances, places to bivouac, and the names of coun- 
tries. We prepared provisions for four days, and 


otherwise arranged our accoutrements. Messrs. Gruick- 
shank. Fox, and Steele were to accompany me, and we 
should have about 200 Malays and perhaps 2000 
Dyaks. We set oflF the next morning before seven 
o'clock, tracking up the Penebak stream for about 
two miles. After getting well clear of camp, and out 
of the water-path, we called a halt, to breakfast and 
arrange our force better. I managed so that the 
leaders of each country should have their own people 
about them. In case of any sudden attack . taking 
place, they could rely on each other. Steele and Fox 
took charge of the rear division, Fitz and myself 
marched in the leading one, being preceded by about a 
hundred Malays. We passed, during the first hour's 
march, many houses that had been burnt, principally 
by the enemy, who in most cases adopted this Russian 
mode after defence was given up. 

The first ascent was over the crown of a hill named 
Tabalau, about 340 feet high. The sun was almost 
overpowering^ without a branch to shade us, as the 
ground had been just divested of every tree for farm- 
ing. Many of our party were stopping and crouching 
imder temporary shelter for their heads, and were 
suffering from thirst. We trudged on to the top 
without halting, and there stopped to rest and look 
around. The scenery was extensive, and we plainly 


saw the moimtain of Sadok in the opposite direction 
to which we had come ; and the whole country, so £ar 
as the eye could reach, was a successign of hills and 
mountains, as steep as this one had been. We then 
descended, and the sun was now secluded firom view 
behind the mount at our backs ; the road was exces- 
sively slippery, on account of the number of feet 
passing over it. Fitz, who followed me, I certainly 
thought would have been injured, as he came down 
several times, but he was evidently accustomed to be 
well shaken. Early in the day I cautioned him against 
touching a black stone in the bed of a river, but his 
desire for experience overcame his sense of obedience, 
so he stept on it and went head over heels, very nearly 
bringing me down with him. Some part of the way 
led over batangs at the foot of the mountain, and these 
logs always form the most dangerous walking for 
European legs and nerves. We passed one thirty feet 
in length, and perhaps a foot and a half in breadth, 
leading over a gully with a rocky stream several 
fathoms underneath. I passed cautiously over, follow- 
ing close on the steps of my leader, but my next 
companion preferred sliding down the bank on his 
posterior, and clambering up the other side : this 
caused a break in the Balla of several yards, which we 
had to make up in double quick time. Such a march 


over very broken ground is either done in extremely- 
slow time, or treble quick, — either creeping or racing. 
We waded through slippery-bedded streams, and at 
3 P.M. halted on the bank of one, which had recent 
traces of inhabitants. When clearing places for our 
night abode, many found some property concealed 
among long grass and under trees. These places for 
resting may, with a little trouble, be made tolerably 
comfortable; and provided the land be level, might 
be arranged as barracks. Each party or boat's crew's 
house under the same roof ; a fire-place is made in fix)nt, 
and a large heap of wood set on the top for drying 
during the night. 

The scene on a fine evening is one of much bustle 
and business; most have some kind of work to do 
after halting, in drying and mending clothes, repairing 
slings or the things carried, or cleaning and sharpening 
arms, and, most indispensable of all, cooking, which 
never takes place before dusk. Our roofing is con- 
structed with green leaves arranged on the top of each 
other, so as to prevent the water entering, — ^but the 
Dyaks are the only people who take the trouble to 
look after such an important business with its due 
degree of attentioiL Malays prefer lesser work, with 
the chance of having no rain. Our flag is hoisted, and 
at night it makes a useful covering. Dyaks are in the 


habit of making themselves comfortable in jungles, 
through which they so often roam and travel ; portable 
coverings, and small mats a foot broad, are attached to 
their waists, hanging over their seats, — ^thus b^ng pro- 
vided with a clean mat always ready ; they are often 
ornamented with borders of yellow beads, and I have 
often thought of adopting this piece of Dyak furniture, 
as it has the advantage of keeping one dry and dean 
when reclining on these wet lands. Fortunately, in 
these countries we have no precautions to take against 
wild animals, — snakes, ants, centipedes, and scorpions, 
being the most formidable. 

After dinner a few natives came and sat with us, 
and among them was a man belonging to the Eejang 
district, named Tani, who was an inveterate talker and 
an immoderate bore ; a fine fellow, phjrsically speaking, 
showing great power of limb. He stood 5 ft. 7^ in., 
with gigantic shoulders and depth of chest, with a cast 
of countenance somewhat resembling the Red Indian. 
His dress was a strange mixture of colours, and even 
absmrd among Dyaks, but this man was of the Malanau 
race; his skull-cap of many hues had long fe«athers 
standing upright from it; a maias (orang utan) skin 
jacket hung over his shoulders. He was further adorned 
with feathers both before and behind, and sundry strings 
of beads hung dangling about. A breast-plate of tin, 


with the edges slightly carved and perforated with 
holes, was attached to the jacket ; his under garment 
consisted of a red cloth, and his legs were free of any 
incumbrances. The ends of the red cloth were long, 
and prettily embroidered with beads ; the short sword 
of his country, with the convex and concave blade, 
hung at his waist, and human hair, stained various 
colours, fastened to the hilt, the belt being composed 
of beads. He waJB considered a most prodigious striker 
with this weapon, and I have heard men declare that 
they have witnessed him sever at a blow, a hardish 
piece of wood as large as the leg of an ordinary sized 
man. He was a clever and active feUow, and would 
dance and caper with his drawn sword on every im- 
aginable occasion ; but insincerity was written on his 
features, and when he spoke there were always a few 
drops of blood in my veins that appeared to curdle ; 
the exact why or wherefore I cannot explain, but it 
is unaccountably so with some who axe bom under 
malignant stars. He conversed sometimes in Dyak, 
sometimes in good Malay, then again in the Brunei 
dialect, and various other languages, all with a like 
fluency and facility ; he kept me sitting up much 
longer than I wished, and I was now delighted to hear 
his farewell. Fitz snored by my side, and I soon 
joined in chorus. There waa no regular watch kept. 


but several were awake among the force, and each 
time I opened my eyes during the night I heard a low 
conversation going on, principally among the old men. 
I had little apprehension of meeting any dangerous 
enemy, they being too busily employed in removing 
their families to a distance. My object was to bum 
and destroy, and take any stockaded defences we might 
happen to meet ; any massacre of women and children 
was to be strictly guarded against Such an enemy as 
ourselves, marching through the heart of the inhabi- 
tants' country, disregarding distances and obstacles^ for 
the first time probably since Dyaks were Dyaks, would 
prove a sufficient demonstration, and, it was to be 
hoped, lead them to dread making any further seaward 
piracies or head-hunting depredations on the coast. 

The next morning we advanced in the direction of 
Matai, a branch of one of the tributaries of Rejang. 
After three hours I considered we had proceeded far 
enough in that direction, so turned the force and 
directed the leaders to go in the direction of the head 
of Kajulau. Early in the afternoon we crossed a high 
and steep mountain, only a little lower than the one of 
yesterday, named Tabalau Indu (woman) ; the climb 
was again severe, and the heat excessive, step after 
step seemed to be the last that could be sped, and 
Pitz's voice, only just audible, begged for rest. We 


reached tlie top, and there rested with satisfactioiu 

Poor suffered severely, and lay on his back, while 

some of his followers went in search of the traveller's 
friend, a root which is to be found in abundance iir 
this country, and when cut quickly emits a fresh cool 
draught of water, with only a slight flavour of wood^ 
It is a great mistake to drink, as once having done so 
you require more, and in time it produces what the 
natives call ''ikak," an unpleasant tightness in the 
chest, and difficulty in breathing. 

We then descended and walked for some hours;., 
until reaching a house, which was defended for a short 
time by the enemy ; however, before we arrived th^ 
had made off. I refused to enter the house, which 
was crowded with our people, making great noise 
and confusion. I have preferred bivouacking on the 
ground since the dangerous occurrence in Kajulaii, 
which so nearly proved fatal to an expedition. Our 
huts were huddled together, as the land was not well 
adapted for holding a large force ; but it was only for 
one night, and so mattered little. We were all tire^ 
and required few comforts, — our meal was scanty, — 
and then we slept, dreaming of hiUs, everlasting 
hills, higher and higher until we seemed approaching^ 
heaven, and then were obliged to descend by a cir- 
cuitous path until we were wrapped in darkness and 

vol. I. * 


moisture. After some hours trying to umravel such 
mysteries, I awoke cold and stiff. 

The third day we marched from morning till lat€ 
in the afternoon, and were now on the head of the 
Kajidau stream. There were large black rocks in bars 
from one side to the other, with only small interstices 
for the stream to pass over ; deep dark pools were 
between the rocks ; the jungle trees hung slanting 
over the river until the branches nearly met ; and 
from either bank, cruelly steep hills rose, the only 
ground that was at all level being the bed of the river. 
This we followed as much as we could, but it wound 
too circuitously sometimes, and then we had to cross 
a steep hill to cut off a point, entering the stream 
again on the upper side. The formation was lime- 
stone, and there was much sand in some of the bays. 
Late in the afternoon three houses were burnt down, 
and the force obtained some pl\mder. We erected our 
sleeping abodes just before 5 P.M., which gave us time 
to bathe and rest before dinner time. Our sheds were 
crazy affairs, and an unpleasant opening was at my 
right capable of admitting an enemy without an ob- 
stacle ; I called some of my men to take the important 
though disagreeable position. My youth, Bajgus, im- 
mediately ensconced himself at the post of danger, 
and informed me he never slept on such occasions, so 


telling him to see to his arms, and call me if he heard 
any rustling iq the bush, I laid down ; but long ere I 
had closed a lid Bagus was snoring, and edging his 
cold limbs close up to my covering. The rain poured 
all night ; our roof leaked, and we rose in the morning 
wet through and stiff, and glad to see the light. 
The greatest boon in such a state, if health is strong, 
is to plunge into the cold stream for a couple of 
minutes, then with a warm rub of a rough towel the 
circulation is revived. 

This was to be our last day's march. We com- 
menced it by wading up the Mapi stream. The guides 
w^ere of different opinions about our best and nearest 
line of march, but Sandom soon settled the question ; 
and as we advanced, the scenery, under more sprightly 
circumstances, would have been strikingly picturesque, 
but poetical visions require to be accompanied by ease 
and comfort, and fancy declines building beautiful 
castles on an empty stomach. Once we climbed a 
cascade at the head of the stream, threading our way 
through a narrow passage between two ridges of rocks, 
with gushiQg falls and spouts every here and there. 
This rocky pathway was exceedingly slippery and un- 
pleasant walking. Vegetation hung in festoons from 
off these rocky steeps, and many of the creepers were 
in full bloom. After reaching the open again we 


rested, wliile a division of the force clambered, a hill 
to examine a long house, which they found had been, 
deserted for some days; it was in flames in a few 
minutes. We proceeded over hill after hill on the 
top of a ridge under a burning sun, without any 
shelter. This was the Rabbi and Telangkang range, 
running parallel to the Saribus river. Its upa and 
downs of about 200 feet proved trying work for our 
muscles, walking fast as we did. I must mention 
a peculiarity, which no doubt other travellers have 
experienced in like situations. After walking fieur, and 
becoming too tired to converse or take an active 
interest in surrounding objects, the mind becomes 
surprisingly active as the physical powers decrease 
in strength; irregular and disjointed thoughts run 
wildly one over another, as one sometimes finds in 
the moments of awakening from sleep. It was once 
my lot to attend the bed of a sick man dying from 
dysentery, and never can I forget the words that 
escaped from him a short while before he breathed his 
last He rambled on in the wildest manner, mixing 
one subject with another, speaking of things he could 
scarcely ever have thought about, or even heard of, 
during his lifetime. In extreme fatigue I. have known 
my mind to wander in a similar degree. When once 
in low condition, after having marched for some days, 


my mental faculty continued to harp on "Move on, 
Jo/' I cannot express my peculiar feelings about this 
sad character in "Bleak Houde," while picturing him 
in every distressing phase. 

We descended to a stream, after walking for near 
four hours over hills, and here rested and fed, when I 
divested myself of my jacket and arms. My com- 
panions arrived, and poor Fox was very exhausted. 
He dashed into the cool rivulet, exclaiming, " It was 
enough to kill anybody/' He was stouter than any of 
us, and consequently felt the hard and melting work 
in a greater degree. But a few of such marches soon 
robs one of all superfluous flesh. We stayed here an 
hour, and then two hours of faat walking brought us 
to Nanga tiga, where we joined our main force. I 
don't think I am inclined to exaggerate distances in 
jungle travelling, nor do I calculate a day's march in 
a straight line as the crow flies, but by guessing the 
pace, and knowing the number of hours on the move. 
Over anything like moderately good paths three miles 
can be done, seldom four, unless one is walking alone ; 
then even two miles over a rugged steep path is more 
than equal, in point of fatigue, to three or four miles 
over better ground. This last and fourth day's march 
we could not have passed over less than fifteen miles 
as a crow would fly. AVe have made a circuit during 


the four days of thirty miles, and the distance gone 
each day in walking couldn't have been less than 
thirteen miles.** This evening we were better satisfied 
with dinner, and pleased by the sound of more Euro- 
pean voices. Some of the enemy had quietly walked 
through the camp at night ; their tracks were seen in 
the morning — ^probably some venturous spirit who 
wished to ascertain how strong our force really was. 
They were also prowling about outside every night. 
Muskets were fired by some of our lazy party while 
they were lying on their backs. One of the enemy 
took a dexterous aim with a barbed spear as an old 
Dyak was warming himself before a fire in camp, 
sitting with his hands crossed to shade his face fiwrn 
the flames. The spear pinned both his hands togetha* 
in this position, and fortunately so, for it kept the 
weapon from his chest and saved his life. The spear- 
head was cut off before it was extricated. Much is to 
be said for care and caution in most departments, but 
my experience tells me the less care on such an ex- 
pedition, the more guard, and the fewer outer defences, 
the less is the enemy apt to close. Such a defence 
affords them as much, or even more shelter, than the 

* Mr. Spenser St. John calculates his marches as a crow flies, bat as 
milestones do not do the same in England, I take his estimate to be 
an error in jungles. 


party inside, who have lights which cause their figures 
to be distmguished, and so provide marks for a lurking 
foe outside. When there are no defences the Dyaks 
seldom sleep, but sit watching and telling stories the 
night through. 

On the day after our return we rested, and arranged 
arms and ammunition for a march on Sadok, and 
a mortar this time was expected to bring down 
Rentap's fortification, s The' larger division of the 
force was eager to join this attack. Sadok seemed to 
be a loadstone for the multitude. In the evening 
a grand conference was held, and the marching order 
arranged, but the natives evidently looked to this 
wonderful gun to do the work. It was a six-pounder, 
and only a few inches long. Few words were said, 
but Abang Boyong expressed his opinion that if the 
mortar and shell did not reduce the place, no men 
could. The force started early, and commenced by 
wading a stream which wetted us to the middle. The 
guides had informed us that water would not be 
obtainable for many hours on the hill; so out of a 
bamboo patch the force provided themselves with a 
joint each of this useful cane for carrying water, 
capable of holding about a quart, and convenient 
for slinging over the shoulders. At the last stream 
before ascending we filled them. The hills had just 


been burnt clear of every leaf for farming, and the 
padi in some places was already planted. We could 
.see our force several miles in front wending on its 
anfr-like pUgrimage. Sadok loomed grim and grand 
before us, with a few white fleecy clouds still hovering 
-about its back in the morning breeze. 

Our Dyaks were carrying the mortar, slung in a 
network of rattans, the ammunition and shells being 
distributed among the force. The Sardwak division 
of stout Nakodahs were little accustomed to this kind 
of work, and very soon showed signs of having dry 
mouths. It was now fiery hot, and soon after mid^ 
'day we halted at a small farm-house, and every foot of 
shade from the sun's rays was crowded by our force. 
One of our Europeans was completely exhausted ; he 
Tiad only lately arrived from England, and was not 
jet inured to our broiling climate. On a good road 
dn the dd country he would doubtless have passed us 
:all, but now was so thoroughly ikak (I know no other 
name) as to be obliged to be carried on the back of a 
Dyak. He was a man over six feet in height, and 
heavy in proportion. The Dyak who carried him up 
bill after hill, as if he had been an infant, was only 
5 feet 2 inches without his shoes. We rested at this 
place about two hours, and then I accompanied a 
party to look out for water, and for a suitable place 


to halt for the night. We went on and on without 
finding a drop. Once I heard a fall, but it was too 
far off the top of the ridge to be useful ; and then our 
party was advancing up a steep, on the top of which, 
I was told, was a stockade held by the enemy. I 
followed as close as possible, and found, when passing 
over, that the enemy had been here, and the remains 
of the stockade was standing, which, after a few shots, 
they had deserted. Two houses were burning here; 
and now we were rapidly reaching Sadok's foot. 
At 5 P.M. we halted at a small house which belonged 
to Eentap's son-in-law Layang, who had joined the 
party on the summit of the mountain. Our party 
soon assembled here, and we prepared for the night. 
The atmosphere was delightftdly cool at this elevation 
after the heat of the sun had passed, and the scenery 
was of the wildest description on all sides. How the 
females can carry their heavy burthens of padi and 
water for daily purposes, is marvellous. They must 
be towers of strength, even to be able to climb such 
places, apart from the weights. 

We stretched ourselves lazily on the platform of 
this primitive dwelling, and in the moonlight talked 
and thought of those far far away, wishing that our 
relatives could have caught a glimpse of their kith and 
kin in this wild distant land. At an early hour the 


next morning, after having felt the cold of this elevated 
position very acutely, we bestirred ourselves, and took 
coflFee, Sec. Rentap's mustering tap on his gong was 
continual — ^how well I remembered its note. At seven 
we commenced the ascent, which is more gradual than 
upon the Sakarang side. Our Dyaks were already 
spreading up the hiU, and had been on the guivive the 
greater part of the night, as voices of the enemy had 
been distinctly heard on the borders of the jungle in 
our vicinity. We met with no obstacles in mounting 
to the summit, which we reached at a little past ten in 
the morning. Rentap^s party were within his wooden 
walls, and not a living being could be seen. We 
passed the remains of my old encampment, at which I 
had spent eight days ; the wood was now rotting, but 
the exact spot where I had disported myself in the 
muddy bed was plainly visible. Our force now set to 
work to collect wood, and within an hour a small 
stockade was erected, in which our mortar was ar- 
ranged; it was mounted within easy firing distance of 
the enemy's fortress, and under the superintendence of 
Mr. John Channon the firing commenced. The shells 
were thrown with great precision, often lodging under 
the roof of the enemy's fort, at other times bursting 
over it, and more than once we heard them burst in 
the middle inside. Not a word was spoken by them, 


and some were under the impression that the place 
was deserted, when the tapping of the old gong would 
recommence, as blithe as ever. Fifty rounds of shell 
were fired, besides hollow ones with full charges of 
powder, all of which appeared to take no more effect 
than if we were pitching pebbles at them. None of 
our party yet dared venture too near, but some of the 
most energetic pushed on to another stockade, within 
a few fathoms of the fort, when the enemy commenced 
firing, but the shot did not penetrate the wood. Our 
young Dyaks advanced, and two were immediately 
knocked over, and others wounded. Other parties 
also advanced, and an active scene ensued; some 
reached the planking of the fortress, sheltering their 
heads with their shields ; showers of stones were 
thrown firom the inside, and spears were jobbed from a 
platform above. There was such a commotion for a 
few minutes, that I made certain our party were 
effecting an entrance, and for the purpose of supporting 
them, I rushed out of the stockade, followed by a few, 
and had not passed over more than four or five feet, 
before the enemy fired grape, woundi^ig a fine young 
Dyak behind me, whom I had just time enough to save 
from falling down the precipice, by seizing him by the 
hair, and passing him on to others behind the stockade. 
My brother and I advanced a few steps, but found our 


following was too inadequate for storming, and many 
were already retreating ; volleys of stones were flying 
round our heads, and as we retired again behind the 
stockade, another charge of grape poured into the wood 
now at our backs. The chiefs had congregated to beg 
us to desist from making any further advance, and I 
must admit that we only risked our lives needlessly. 
The natives wisely observed, "We cannot pull those 
planks down with our hands, we cannot climb over 
them, and our arms make no impression on the enemy." 
I heard the latter distinctly call out, *' Bring all 
your fire guns from Europe, and we are not afraid of 
you." One young fellow was struck by a shot, and 
perhaps only slightly wounded, but he fell over the 
precipice where we had no hope of finding him. As 
he disappeared, the enemy called out, " Ah ! that's our 
share." And now what more could we do but quietly, 
with disheartened faces, prepare our paraphernalia for 
descending; many of our party were very severely 
wounded, and four killed. The enemy yelled in 
triumph, and followed us down the hill, but kept at a 
decent distance .out of sight for fear of our fire-arms. 
We collected again in the house, in which we had left 
all our heavy things ; the force talked, made the best 
of matters, and were not dispirited. The Dyaks 
buried their dead in the most secret spots, covering 


their graves over with leaves and dead wood, but I 
subsequently heard the enemy found out the places, 
and dug the bodies up. It is nearly an impossibility 
to bury so as to prevent Dyaks finding out the spot. 
Among the wounded, one man had a shot in his eye, 
which was turned round, though as yet not materially 
injured; we were afraid to offer the poor fellow any 
assistance for fear it might enter further and touch the 
brain ; subsequently the shot fell out, and the man^s 
vision was partially restored* One old feUow sitting 
next to me had a ball in his back, which I laboured 
at for more than an hour, with a blunt penknife, and 
at last I succeeded in extricating it. On seeing the 
bullet, the man was never prouder in his life ; and care- 
fully putting it away, he thought himself "bertuah'^ 
(invulnerable). He stores that article among his 
charms, which he carries aroimd his waist when in 
dangerous positions. The natives set a high value on 
those charms, and a case was brought before me, only 
a short time since, in which a Pangeran (a prince of 
royal blood) summoned a man of low degree for 
having lost his charms, which he stated had been 
handed down for generations. The value he required 
was $30, or 7Z. It appears the defendant had bor- 
rowed these articles, and had accidentally lost thenu 
On inquiry, the charms in question were known by 


other parties to consist of two round pebbles, and one 
flat one, a small stone which had been found in a 
Banana ; these were all mixed with a little sand, sewn 
up together, with strings attached for tjdng around the 
waist The court placed a valuation of five pence on 
these articles, much to the Pangeran's chagrin. 

Before daylight in the morning, the Dyaks had gone 
on, and when we were ready for moving, after coffee, 
&c., we found there were but few to follow behind us. 
However, the enemy were not numerous in our rear, 
and the party that opposed us, we could tell, numbered 
very few. I learnt after my return that there were 
only twenty-four men with Rentap, not one of whom 
was wounded or killed. 

We now walked over the hills in the cool, and 
shortly after mid-day arrived at the stream, and at 
4 P.M. reached the boats. As our provisions were 
getting short, the force prepared for a start down- 
ward at once. It was considered advisable that we 
should drop down the river as far as our lower force at 
Sungei Langit. Fitz and I were to bring up the rear, 
in case of the enemy becoming troublesome. The sun 
had nigh sunk before we started. Just after we 
shoved off, one of our large boats, holding forty men, 
filled and sunk ; there was nothing for it but to leave 
her, and the boatless crew huddled themselves into our 


boats, as many as possibly cotild ; the remainder either 
walked or swam down on their shields. It was long 
after dark when we reached our force, and when 
stopping here for the night, the effluvia from half- 
buried dead bodies was something terrible. Numbers 
of our people had died of dysentery, and the Sadong 
Dyaks who bum their dead, had done it so imperfectly 
as nearly to stifle us. I was obliged to wrap the shawl 
over head and ears, and sleep. After an hour Sandom 
came to my boat and awoke me; sitting close to my 
side, he told me, in a confidential tone, that the Saribus 
Dyaks around the fort were not to be trusted, that his 
experience of his own people was, that they were not 
to be depended upon, unless your enemies are their 
enemies, and now they had refused to take the head of 
Sadji. "Eemember, Tuan,^* he added, "you can do 
what you think best, I merely inform you." I told 
Sandom I was in no way anxious, and a little more 
time would right matters. We continued in conver- 
sation for fully two hours, and he enlightened me upon 
the perfidious practices of former dajrs, and wound up 
by saying that all Dyaks were mad men in olden time. 
Our force was moving down before light, but there 
was no hurry for our uppermost boats, and my craft 
was in such a dilapidated condition, that I was obliged 
to beach her, and patch her keeL This we did three 


times before she would float, and then we found her 
bottom so thin^ that a man had to keep his foot on a 
split all the while, to hold one plank even with another. 
She had been a good servant to me, and as with a 
horse, so in a minor degree with a boat, one possesses 
a kindly feeling towards its bones. We quickly floated 
down. All the large trees and wood that were lying 
across on our ascent, had been swept away by the 
strength of the water. I found the boat I had left by 
the bank bottom up, much further down, and we 
stopped for some hours to right her, as she was a 
valuable war boat of 60 feet in length ; her planks 
were broken, and she was much damaged. We reached 
the fort in the afternoon. The wounded man who had 
been saved from falling by his hair, had died, and I 
had at any rate to be thankful, as that charge was 
intended for my benefit. Our party had lost many 
more from sickness than from wounds, and cholera had 
been playing sad havoc among the people who had not 
been actively employed. I left my old boat here, and 
returned to Sakarang overland, in preference to the 
long pull round by sea. 

There was little doubt that this * expedition had 
shaken the strength of our enemies considerably, and 
we expected that inmiediate offers of peace would have 
been the result, with the request that they might be 


pennitted to return to their own country, re-open 
trade and friendly relations. About one fourth, of the 
enemy, in the course of two months, came back to 
their old abodes, and lived on intimate terms with the 
inhabitants of the lower country, but it was soon 
evident that there were other influences at work sup- 
porting the hostile chiefs, beyond our cognisance, 
against the Sarawak government. Rentap of Sadok, 
was still the rallying point for the multitude, the 
nucleus of the evil-disposed and rebellious spirits, and 
Ms nest was safe, after two attacks having failed in 
making the smallest impression upon it. However, 
we had gained something by the penetration into the 
interior, and had not suffered any material loss ; besides, 
the Malays who had accompanied the expedition \vere 
now fast friends with us, having become enemies to the 
Dyaks ; and the Sarawak Malays had benefited by the 
excitement, occasioned by the Chinese insurrection, 
which drove fear and tremor from their hearts. 

A calm prevailed after the late expedition, during 
which we found time to look to other matters, and 
husband our resources, preparatory to further work, 
and struggles against our enemies. The habit of 
watchftOness, and of being surrounded by armed 
followers, however disagreeable at first, becomes 
natural. When absent it is quite missed. 



My having to administer justice in a civil capacity, 
and again being employed in semi-military service, 
brought a double amount of envy, malice, and hatred 
to one's door, but in such positions one generally finds 
friends and supporters more than equal to opponents. 
A strong arm and just cause, and what mattered how 
diflficult the task or hard the labour? It was no 
position for a family man, with a taste for the social 
luxuries of evenings at home. The enjoyable part of 
our life was the glorious independence of it, con- 
nected with a considerable degree of power and influ- 
ence over fellow creatures. We could imagine moun- 
tains (not monarchs) our footstools, and gaze over the 
wide extent of wild waste until, as the Chaldeans of 
old did with the stars, we peopled it with multitudes. 

I thought now, as I had spare time on my hands^ I 
would devote it to agricultm'al pursuits, and so obtained 
some shoots of the sago palm for planting on a wide 
extent of freshly reclaimed mud land, which was 
reported of the best quality for the sago culture, being 
moist at the top, and firm underneath, to support the 
large heavy trees. The cocoa-nut grows best in land 
soft underneath and hard at the top, and it requires 
draining in marshy lands. Sago arrives at maturity 
in eight or ten years, and will fetch about 145. per tree 
in the ground; the advantage of such an estate is, that 


it requires so little care, and is always throwing out 
young shoots around the parent stem, thereby multi- 
plying almost tenfold yearly. The young plants should 
be planted out, at suflScient distances apart, so as to 
allow the leaves to spread unencumbered. The leaves 
are used for making roofs, and the shell of the tree, 
after the sago is worked out, comes in useful for 
making the flooring of native houses. 

There are two kinds of these palms, one with thorns, 
and one without ; the former yields most sago flour, 
and has the advantage of being proof against the 
attacks of pigs ; the latter however is much easier for 
working, as it does not wound the hands and feet of 
people employed on the estate. The piece of land I 
had' chosen was now covered with padi, which was 
flourishing on this virgin soil to a surprising extent. 
At this time I often spent evenings in Dyak hou^s on 
the spot, and when indulging in the cigar, we had 
long conversations on various topics. It led me to 
contemplate an idea which certainly would have been 
realised, had not unforeseen events taken place to nip 
it in the bud. My idea was to become a chief of a 
long house in Dyak fashion on this embryonic planta- 

I should have had many followers to attach their 

doors to my dwelling, but whether it would have been 



a success was a doubtful question, which was never 
proved, as shortly afterwards a distressing event 
occurred, which led to my being left in charge of 
Sarawak and the coast. So I was obliged to bid fare- 
well to my projected plantation, which within a month 
was washed into the river by a landslip. 



Visit to Kojang — ^Kanowit — Steele's escapes — ^Isolated position — Slave- 
born followers — ^Mukah — ^Mathusein's position — ^Difficulties — Dis- 
persion of his enemy's forts — ^Fine demanded — ^Mathusein released 
— Proximity of Seriff Massahore — Trade restored — ^Eetum — 
Saribus head-bunting — Punishments — ^Messrs. Fox and Steele 
murdered — Deep conspii-acy — Cogitations — Suspicions -^ Council 
of war — Expedition to Eejang — Abang Ali's good faith— Summary 
treatment at Saiikei — Gang of murderers — Seriff Massahore's 
visit — Armed followers — ^Execution of fortmen — ^Kanowit — Sad 
sight — Ruins — ^New fort— Council of war — Dyak attack — Their 
failure— Our advance march — ^Enemy's position — Firing— At- 
tempt to save lives — Assault — Dyak daring — ^Dreadful conflagra- 
tion — ^Loss of life — Poisoned arrows — ^Deadly effects — Eetum — 
Lintong — Difficulties with friends — Visit to Seriff Massahore — 
Eetum to SarSiwak — ^Prosperity — Datu Hadji — His banishment — 
Europeans armed — Conspiracy — Extra watch and barring in — The 
bore in Batang Lupar — ^Dyak lady's affection— Lela Pelawan — ^Uis 
wisdom — Dyak fortmen — Absmd customs — Dyak hero worship- 
Marriage proceedings, Christian and Mahomedan. 

Death and dangerous illnesses towards the end of 
last year had thrown a gloom over the atmosphere of our 
small circle, and no one had any heart to celebrate 
the usual festivities of Christmas and New Year. The 
duties were quietly carried on day after day without 
any spark of joy or pleasure to temper the routine. 


I had resolved on making a tour to the diflferent places 
on the coast on the first appearance of fine weather 
after the north-east monsoon, and in March set out 
On reaching Sarikei, boats were kindly prepared for 
us by the Resident, Mr. Fox, and we proceeded to 
Kanowit, which is distant one hundred miles up the 
Rejang river. The pull was exceedingly tedious, and 
such an uninhabited river, with continuous low jungles 
on each side, gave me anything but a pleasant or 
favourable impression. There was no grand or beau- 
tifid scenery, not even a hill, which might break the 
monotony of the landscape, but the river was one 
broad placid mass of dark water slowly running 
towards the sea. In two days we reached Kanowit, 
and there the eye was relieved by rising ground^ with 
cultivation of padi and fruit-trees. The village and 
place which was called a Fort was a picturesque piece 
of irregularity and dilapidation. Some few Chinese 
traders had ventured to settle, but they were to all 
appearance a mob of rapscallions. The Kanowit village 
was situated on the opposite side to the fort^ and the 
river here was 800 yards wide. An Englishman had 
been in charge of this isolated locality for the last 
eight years, and was now so accustomed to the life, 
language, and people, that he told me he should be 
sorry to exchange it for any other. For months 


together no strange boat made its appearance, in fact, 
could not do so, as the freshes ran too strongly down 
in the rainy season. Sarawak even was a distant and 
highly civilised point to the Kanowit inhabitants, who 
for three or fom* months every year were wholly 
dependant on their own resources. The Kanowit 
stream lay on the left bank, and ran up into the 
interior in the direction of Sadok and head of Batang 
Lupar. This stream is inhabited by sea Dyaks^ who 
had for the last fifteen or twenty years been migrating 
from the Saribus and Sakarang districts for the pur- 
pose of obtaining new farming grounds. These exoduses 
took place overland between one river and another. 
Such parties would do their four or five days' march, 
then build their houses, and proceed to farm for one 
or two years, after which they would recommence 
their march, and so on, until they arrived at their 
final destination. 

We remained here three days, and during that time 
had ascertained all that could be known. Mr. Steele 
had not much confidence in either Malays or Dyaks 
beyond his own immediate vicinity, and considering 
the numerous times they had made attacks on the 
place, both openly and secretly, in taking the heads 
of the people close around, as well as the fact that he 
himself had had spears thrown at him more than once. 


one is not astonished that he doubted their sincerity ; 
and as possession of power is the ahnighty wand 
that brings a people, whether Dyak or European, to 
submission, it was in no way surprising that these 
inhabitants were troublesome and- dangerous. One 
attack had been made on them by a force from 
Sarawak about sixteen years ago, when some of the 
Dyaks living on the border, or lower part, were burnt 
out; but the effect of this had passed off, and they 
had reverted to their former customs of head-hunting, 
and looking on all, excepting those of their inMnediate 
tribe, as enemies. The mouth of the Kajulau — the 
upper part of which river was attacked, as related, in 
1857 — ^was on the Kanowit river, about two days' pull 
from the Fort. 

Before bidding farewell to this lonely quarter, I 
recommended the Eesident to endeavour to obtain 
some Malays of respectability to take up their abode 
near, with whom he might act and whom he might 
trust. At present there was not a person of any rank 
living at Kanowit, and the popidation was as un- 
principled a gang of cut-throats as could be found 
anywhere, living here because they were beyond law, 
and could obtain a dishonest livelihood ^from the 
Dyaks, and accumulate large profits, attended with 
little trouble or outlay. They stood by Mr. Steele 


and the fort, knowing this to be their only means of 
security, as alone they could not have held their own 
in such a place. Mr. Steele's observation about his 
fortmen told a tale. He said : " Choose for a fortman 
one who has no connections, or goods, or home, or 
pride." This is a great mistake ; for as with a Euro- 
pean, so with a native ; the man well bom and well- 
to-do takes a great pride in his work, if he has a pride 
in himself and a character to lose. These slave-bom 
followers were capable of being misled by anyone who 
would ojQFer evil suggestions, as it too traly turned out 
in the fatal future of these two Europeans. I must 
confess I felt uneasy about the place. There was too 
smooth an appearance on the surface, without any 
substantial base. 

A little Dyak captive boy accompanied us back, and 
slept between my legs on the way down the river. 
The poor little fellow soon recovered from any shyness 
he may have felt at first, and took kindly to white 
faces. He was only four years old, and had been paid 
as part of a fine. 

On our arrival at Sarikei, I found more work par- 
celled out than I had expected, as letters were in 
waiting from our Sarawak traders at Mukah, Scaying 
that it was quite useless their attempting to trade in 
Sagu while war was being carried on between Pan- 


geran Mathusein and Nipah. They begged my sup- 
port and aid, or the trade must be stopped. They 
assm-ed me that one shot had been fired on the 
Sarawak flag by a badly-disposed Pangeran, and this 
was in itself a snfl&cient cause for making serious com- 
plaints, and if needed, examples. Replies were im- 
mediately dispatched to these conamunications, and 
we proceeded as fast as wind and tide would carry us^ 
accompanied by a few boats of Sarikei Malays. When 
passing Egan we were joined by the Seriif Massahore, 
and with a fresh blowing sea-breeze were soon off the 
mouth of the Mukah. Before many minutes the beach 
was crowded with people, the most of whom were the 
Sarawak traders anxiously waiting our arrival We 
were obliged, after getting inside the river, to anchor, 
as the current was strong against us. Our decks were 
immediately crowded, and I soon learnt all the news. 
The place was in a most disturbed state, and every 
one carried arms. I conmiunicated with the bead 
man, Pangeran Nipah, telling him that I came to open 
the trade with our friends, and to demand a fine of 
Pangeran Serayle, who had fired on our flag. Towards 
the close of the day a message came from Pangeran 
Mathusein, begging me to proceed to his assistance as 
soon as possible, as that night there was some pio- 
babihty of Nipah's party taking his fortification, wliich 


was only defended by twenty-six men against about 
six bimdred, who had built moveable stockades all 
around, and were gradually closing on him each night, 
and were now within about fourteen yards of his 
house. We warped up and arrived late at night, and 
let go our anchor off Mathusein's landing-place. It 
was the 27th night of the Mahomedan fast month, 
and the place being beautifully illuminated, blazed 
out, as strange a looking pile of fortifications and 
habitations as it has ever fallen to my lot to witness. 
Mathusein came aboard, and showed his gratitude more 
by manner than words. He was thin and haggard, 
and said, " Tuan, I thought I should have been a dead 
man to-night, as they intended adding to the illumina- 
tion by the blaze of my house; but I did not fear 
death, and would never have run away." I told him 
not to come to see me again, but to prepare for going 
to Sarawak. On the first appearance of light we were 
all up and ready to proceed to work, in order to have 
the business over as quickly as possible. Our gun- 
boat decks were covered with armed men, and the 
bulwarks were closed in around by oars and logwood. 
The Europeans kept watch with loaded arms. The 
first step we took was to dislodge a floating battery, 
placed so as to guard Mathusein's landing-place. After 
destroying this I sent a party to pull down the other 



^utA g£ MuKaIi~ 



diflFerent stockades, numbering some twenty-five, of 
all shapes and sizes. Besides these, there were boats 
built up with barricades below and aloft. These were 
purposely arranged for dropping or throwing fire on 
to Mathusein's roof. Pangeran Mathusein's fort was 
being pulled down also, and before mid-day there was 
a clearance and change in the aspect of affairs. I then 
demanded a fine for the insult offered to the Sai-awak 
flag. Agents came fi'om many parties who wished to 
defer, and make excuses, so the " Jolly " was hauled 
up the creek in front of their houses. The commotion 
this caused was really astonishing; the men seemed 
beside themselves, rushing about with arms and shields, 
and talking violently. The Seriff Massahore was with 
me, and professed the most ardent fiiendship and 
desire to assist. 

Out of Pangeran Nipah's house there were several 
guns pointed directly on to our decks ; and the muzzle 
of our six-pounder was looking upwards, loaded and 
primed. It would have been close quarters if we had 
played with fire-arms, as we could jump from the 
decks to the banks. 

After an hour or so a message came to say they 
would pay down the fine immediately ; and then some 
amiable-looking people smiled courteously, and said, 
they always looked on our gun-boats as friendly 


to Mukah, and the same as their own vessels, and 
why there had been such a disturbance among their 
people they could not imagine. The fine was paid, 
and we dropped down just in time to save the tide, 
so as to get out of this creek, which was diy at low 
water. I sent a conciliatory letter to Pangeran Nipah — 
whom I had known before, and I was aware that weak- 
ness was his principal failing — ^begging him hereafter 
to do his utmost to foster the trade between Sardwak 
and Mukah. After this Pangeran Mathusein pro- 
ceeded to Slaxdwak, and I to Saribus. The Mukah 
trade was brisk for the remaining months during that 
year, and there was no further complaint from any 
party. I received many communications from Pan- 
geran Nipah written in a friendly tone. On my 
arrival at Saribus I foimd the Dyaks had been in 
search of heads. A chief was fined, and made to dis- 
gorge two of these, which he had come by imlawfiilly, 
having taken them fit)m some of our own people. The 
heads I always kept in an old Dyak's house at Saka- 
rang, ready to be returned on a future day if the rela- 
tions claimed them. At Sarawak I found a long and 
interesting letter had arrived from the Sultan of Sulok 
to the Rajah of Sarawak. His particular object seems 
to have been to complain of the harsh treatment re- 
ceived from the Spaniards, who, he said, had attacked 


Mm with fire-ships, and killed many of his people 
without any reason whatever; and had also taken 
possession of some of his islands without his permis- 
sion. He had heard so much of the strict justice of 
the English, more particularly of the Rajah, his friend, 
that now he hoped he should receive assistance from 
him. He wished to have an Englishman to live with 
him, who might trade or work as he felt disposed, and 
could see, or be witness, that all was carried on fairly 
between his country and other nations. This letter 
was well worded and expressed, and, as is* to be sup- 
posed, showed the most inveterate hatred to the 
Spaniards, who have been burning out some of those 
pirates' nests of late years, and adding much to their 
possessions in that direction. 

Few events ruffled the surface of our quiet life; 
trade was brisk, and I was again bound for Sakarang, 
in company with another vessel and some friends. 
After living there three days, events shortened our 
visit and saddened our hearts. On rising one morning 
at five o'clock, according to my usual custom, I passed 
out through many faces and people to whom I did not 
oflfer a remark, as, during my morning's quarter-deck 
walk, few dared to communicate with me. After the 
bath and cofiee, I considered myself anybod/s property. 
But on this morning as I paced to and fro, my youth. 


Gani (who had been a steady follower since he was a 
child, and whom I looked on more in the light of a 
brother than servant), whispered, "Have you heard 
the news?" "No, Gani/' "Then Messrs. Pox and 
Steele are dead — murdered ; and some people are 
waiting to see you." I merely remarked, " very well," 
but I felt, among the thousands of false reports that 
we were almost daily in the habit of hearing, that this 
one was too true, and that something more remained 
behind. This was the first stroke of a foul conspiracy, 
which had been hatching for some time past in the 
minds of a few discontented, intriguing rascals, deep 
and subtle as men or devils could be. The party 
that brought the news said that Fox and Steele had 
been killed by "Sawing" and "KaleL" Their dead 
bodies had been seen, and Kanowit was now in the 
hands of enemies and murderers. The lives of all the 
white men in the coxmtry had been aimed at, but tiie 
first blow was struck too soon; they warned me to 
beware^ but one of these reporters caused a suspicion 
in my mind from the first. I had known him as being 
an xmprincipled, hard-headed fellow, clever and plaus- 
ible. He was called Tani ; the other man was merely 
a tooL I determined not to act precipitately in the 
matter, but to sift the news further, by listening 
steadily to ail parties, and endeavouring to learn how 


deeply the plot had spread through the country. We 
held a council in my private room, and I quietly de- 
tailed what had happened, and begged Aing to watch, 
and prepare the boats to be in readiness for active 
work. After having dispatched an express to Watson 
in Saribus, to furnish him with the news, and beg him 
to keep his arms loaded, with revolvers always by his 
side, we left for Sardwak ; many natives came to see 
us off, and offered many quiet words of sympathy. 
On my way back by this slow method of travelling, 
when thoughts were rapidly coursing through my 
brain, quite a new feeling came over me — one of intense 
thirst and concentrated desire to seek out and bathe my 
hands in the blood of those who had murdered our 
much-lamented friends. I pondered over matters 
steadily for three days, and then determined to pro- 
ceed to acts, with as compact a force as we could 
gather together ; and for this purpose an assembly was 
held, consisting of all the chiefs and head men, and, 
with a sword in front of me, I declared that there 
should be no haven before the death of those two men 
was avenged. And my object now was to proceed to 
Sarikei, thence to Kanowit, to recapture the place, 
rebuild the fort, and make attacks on any parties of 
conspirators within reach. In five days more we had 
started, and were towed for some distance by Sarawak 



boats. While they were being attached a bteeze 
sprung up, and the vessel, with half-set sails, got way 
on her, and unluckily went over the nearest boat 
before her crew could let go ; the boat came bottom 
up astern, the crew rose on either side and soon clam- 
bered aboard, rather out of breath, but meeting with 
no other injury. They had only lost their arms^ for 
which I paid double value, and this remunerated them 
for their ducking. Jxist before leaving Sarawak, a boat 
arrived bringing Abang Ali, who had come direct jfrom 
Kanowit ; he reported the whole place burnt down and 
destroyed, and that the murderers had fled with their 
families up the river. Abang Ali was the most trust- 
worthy man in Sarikei, and he gave me all the names 
of parties implicated in the proceeding, besides the 
Kanowits. One named Abi, who, with Talip, had mur- 
dered Steele, had already been put to death. Talip 
had escaped. 

The sad event happened early in the affcenxoon. 
Mr. Fox had been superintending the digging of a 
ditch, and Mr. Steele was lounging about in the fort, 
both unarmed. The latter waa in conversation with 
Abi and Talip, whom he had known and trusted for 
years, but their previous characters had been extremely 
bad. There was in a moment a simultaneous onslaught 
both by Steele's companions and a party of Kanowit 


people; the latter rushed from a Chinaman's house and 
etruck Mr. Fox in the back with a. spear ; he fell into 
the fort moat and was killed Talip drew his parang 
and struck at Steele, bat the latter^ being an active 
man, seized the weapon, when the handle became 
entangled in Talip's clothing. Talip was overpowered, 
but Abi, standing by, cut Steele over the head, kill- 
ing him inmiediately. After this the watchman fired 
and killed one of the murderers ; a Chinaman was also 
cut down ; and ^hen, instead of the fortmen guarding 
the premises, they gave it up into the hands of the 
assassins, who forthwith proceeded to rifle it of aU its 
contents, and to bum it down. The guns were dis- 
tributed to different parties. The heads of Messrs. 
Pox and Steele were taken by some of the Dyak 
enemies,; and their bodies left half buried in the 

On my arrival at Eejang, I anchored off the place. 
Abang Ali was with me, and had informed me of the 
part that Tani had taken in the business; that he 
was at Kanowit at the time with the murderers, and 
although he did not actively participate, he was the 
principal speaker among them in a gang assembled 
in the jungles just before the murders took place. I 
at once resolved to seize Tani, as his dangerous cha- 
racter was known throughout the country. Af*^" 

s 2 


which I dispatched Ali to Sarikei, with directions to 
bring all those to trial who were suspected of having 
been concerned in the murders of our friends. If 
found guilty, they were to be put to death forthwith. 
He proceeded in a fast boat, and on arriving at Sarikei, 
he heard the greater part of the suspected ones had 
run up a small creek, and there thrown up a tem- 
porary fortification. The one or two who remained 
were seized, subjected to a summary trial, and kris'd. 
After which an attack was made up the small stream, 
the place taken, and the people put to death. This was 
the first brush, and all the gang were murderers many 
years before, and had escaped from the prison in 
Sardwak, where they had been confined for murdering 
some Sibuyau Dyaks. While an annual feast was 
being carried out according to Dyak custom, all were 
dancing and brandishing their swords, when these 
Malays drew their weapons (as sharp as razors) across 
the throats of the Dyaks, and afterwards pillaged their 

After these people had suffered death, I arrived at 
Sarikei, and first of all summoned the fortmen who 
had given up the fort, to stand their trial before some 
chiefs from Sardwak. Death was the punishment for 
men having quitted their posts without doing their 
utmost to protect the Government name and property. 


These men were tried, sentenced, and executed. The 
Seriff Massahore came aboard to pay his respects, with 
twenty-five armed followers. This man was deeply 
suspected ; but I could not find a clue, or a tittle of 
evidence, through which he might be brought to trial 
I thought all in this large river were more or less 
implicated ; but we could not put all to death, though 
conspiracy was rife. Some were the originators and 
instigators ; some again the active workers ; others 
merely dupes ; and some again only listeners ; but 
none tale-bearers. So my course was to meet the Seriff 
in a friendly manner, without a shadow of suspicion 
on my brow. And as he sat on one chair, I sat on 
another within a foot of him ; he had his sword, I had 
mine : both had equally sharpened edges. There was 
also a guard of armed blunderbuss-men on deck, and the 
redoubtable old Subu, although I beckoned him away, 
would take up his seat close behind me, with his 
gigantic parang on his waist We sat and talked 
cordially on various topics, and he particularly recom* 
mended every precaution, as he said he feared many 
badly-disposed men were about. So after an hour of 
this hollow friendship we separated, he going on shore 
again. What would he not have given for my head ! 

Tani suffered death also, and something had already 
been done, but much more yet remained My wish 


was to punish those immediately implicated befoie 
touching the instigators. I could only get at the 
former by the assistance of the latter. 

I felt apprehensive that I should have difficulties 
with my own people, after they had witnessed such 
severe proceedings ; but was determined to carry out 
my original resolve, and permit nothing to shake me. 
I felt, while in this state, no more fear of danger or 
death than of washing my hands in the morning. A 
man with arms constantly about him, and death staring 
him in the face, soon loses the sensation of what 
people improperly style nervousness. An express boat 
was dispatched to Kanowit for the remains of our late 
friends, and they were buried at Sarikei near the fort ; 
poor John Channon performed the ceremony, as the 
natives held shy of such work. John returned aboard 
in a fainting state, and was laid up for some days 
after ; he was very much attached to Mr. Steele, and 
the loss of one friend, in such a place, and by such 
means, was indeed a loss. 

I lingered here as long as I could, waiting for the 
Sakarang force, as the one with me was inadequate to 
meet an enemy. The Datu Hadji had accompanied 
me, as I preferred bringing him to leaving him in 
Sarawak, where he might be mischievous. His nature 
was evil at the core, — always quarrelsome and trea- 


clierous towards every one in a superior position to 
himself, and in addition, he was a very clever and 
plausible villain. "When he smiles he bites,'' as 
Shakespeare says. At length we set oflF for Kanowit 
without the Sakarang force. I could not account for 
their delay, and could not afford to wait longer for 
them. The Seriff Massahore pretended to take eveiy 
care of me, and was most desirous of placing his 
special guard over my person, which honour I declined. 
In passing up at night our skipper ran us into the 
jungle, and half awake I rushed on deck, fancying the 
day of judgment was at hand. To my intense surprise 
there was a loud cracking, and we were enveloped in 
leaves and large bushes. We had carried away top- 
mast and jib-boom, and after a great deal of trouble got 
clear again. The river was wide enough for a line-of- 
battle ship to work up. The vessel we were in be- 
longed to the bishop, who had kindly offered her to me 
for this extra undertaking, and the accommodation was 
roomy and comfortable. 

In two days we arrived at Kanowit, where there was 
nothing to be seen but black desolation. The poles 
and some fragments of the old houses were left, but 
nothing else. The plaoe looked as if it had been 
cursed by evil spirits ; and when on the same after- 
noon I went on shore to measure out a place for a new 


fort^ the first thing that caught my eye was part of 
the bloody remains of my friends. 

This turned me faint and sick, but I was obliged to 
feign unconcern, as hundreds of Dyaks were around 
the spot, who had been my enemies, and were now 
doubtful friends. They stared at me from beneath 
their eyelids as something demoniacal or angelical, 
with that shy, unpleasant frown which so often mis- 
leads strangers to think that their countenances are 
really bad. I was glad to get aboai*d again, as the 
smell was sickeningly unpleasant. There were about a 
hundred boats of Dyaks around us, waiting for my 
orders to proceed, they cared not whither, so long as 
there was an enemy* A few of the principal chiefs 
whom I knew came aboard, and I must give them 
credit for behaving exceedingly weU^r Dyaks. They 
told me the enemy had stopped up a small stream 
named Kabah, and had fortified themselves there. 
They recommended our advancing upon them at once, 
as there was some prospect of their vacating that place 
for some other locality further inland, where probably 
they would be reinforced by others, and give us much 
greater trouble. Our Malay party at once set to work 
to build a fort There was wood of the hardest de- 
scription to be found in quantities. 

At eight in the evening I called a council of war, to 


ascertain how far the people were willing to proceed 
and attack this place, which was about fifteen miles 
further up the Rejang river, and some considerable 
distance inland* The Malay spokesmen gave very 
sage advice, in recommending that the one hundred 
boats of Dyaks should go on first, should try the 
strength of the enemy's fortification, and if they failed, 
the Malay force would then advance with fire-arms. 
The Dyak chiefs were next assembled, and I plainly 
told them that they were strangers to us, and we could 
not tell how their hearts were disposed, except by 
their mouths, but that it was requisite to have more 
proof before we placed our lives in danger. Therefore 
they must proceed and make an attack on Sawing's 
fortification ; and if they failed, they were to surround 
it, and prevent the enemy from moving elsewhere; 
also to dispatch news of their failure, when we would 
come to their assistance with more arms, &c 

As morning dawned, these wild fellows set off' in 
their large boats, many of which had sixty men aboard, 
and were much longer than the pinnaces. The fort 
soon made an appearance. The Malays were working 
of their own accord, as I did not land again. 

No force had yet arrived from Sakarang. This was 
a great disappointment to me, as without them my 
power was so limited. It now set in for rain ; and 


two days after this, a boat arrived with one of tiie 
young Dyak chiefs, who bounced on board, and 
boisterously told us that they had had four men killed 
and many wounded ; that the enemy were very strong 
and well armed, and every time they advanced some 
of their people were knocked over. So now their force 
had taken up their position out of range of fire-aims 
all around the fortification. They had thus proved that 
their hearts were well inclined towards us, and hoped 
that we should advance at once, as their provisions 
would not last long. 

I made arrangements at night with our people, and 
we set oflF early the next morning, in rain, leaving the 
" Sarawak Cross " (the Bishop's vessel) here, and took 
the Jolly only with the pulling boats. A fresh was 
running strong, and, with many boats in tow of our 
vessel, it was as much as we could do to make way. 
It was not till next day, in the afternoon, that we 
reached the mouth of the small stream. Many Dyaks 
came aboard at once ; they were in great glee, and 
took the guns and ammunition away. I told them 
one would be enough, but they wished to take both, as 
well as everything else on board ; and I really believe 
if I had recommended their hauling the Jolly overland, 
also, they wpuld have tried it. I had two Europeans 
with me — ^John Channon and Lawford — ^the latter a 


new comer. John had been my companion and assis- 
tant for many dreary months in the hot cabin of his 
vessel. He had had charge of the Jolly for years, and 
many a creek and dangerous cranny had she become 
acquainted with in our expeditions. His valuable ser- 
vices, as well as steady and brave conduct, both on 
board and in the jungles, cannot be too highly praised 
in the annals of Sarawak. 

The few preparations we had to make were soon 
completed, and early in the morning, as we were 
armed cap-a-piey a deputation came aboard, headed by 
the Datu Hadji, begging me not to accompany the 
land party, as, if anything happened to me, he was 
afraid of the consequences from the Rajah. I put an 
end to this in a few words, as I was in no trim for 
palavering. The Jolly was left in charge of the Datu 
Tumonggong, with a large force at his disposal, and 
we proceeded. My thoughts, not expressions, were, 
whether I should see her sides again. One cannot 
help thinking ; and the last few days had much added 
to my gloom. No Sakarang force yet 1 Our Malay 
land body only numbered forty men, and those, 
excepting* Panglima Seman and Abang Ali, were of 
the worst kind of warriors, although good men at 
other duties. We soon fell into marching order, and 
trudged over a rugged and slippery path, arriving at 


the enemy^s fort, or house, at 1 p.m. The party who 
preceded us had prepared a stockade for our gun about 
three hundred yards from the enemy. Surveying the 
enem3r^s place with a telescope, I found their house 
was high, and approachable at both ends. There were 
here strong stockades of wood on the ground, the ends 
of the house being thickly piled with planks and 
wood. It looked an ugly place ; the destruction of it 
depended on the eflfect our shot would take. The 
flooring was about eighteen feet off the ground. The 
position of our stockade was well chosen. The heat 
was most intense, and I was glad to find shelter in a 
Dyak langkan, where I rested and had something to 
eat The fighting-men were housed by hundreds 
around in every direction, and by a rough calculation 
must have nxmibered about three thousand. The 
Dyaks thought little of shouldering the 3-cwt. six- 
pounder gun, which they had dragged in a sampan as 
far as they could in a bed of a small stream, and then 
slung it to a long pole, and walked over hill after hill 
without making a halt. After it was mounted, I pro- 
ceeded with my party, and, under the superintendence 
of John Channon, we commenced firing, and heard the 
shot tell plainly against the walling of the house, 
though we were unable to see if they entered. In the 
course of the evening we fired forty-five rounds, when 


ra white J9ag appeared, sigiofying they had had enough 
of it ; but a white flag was little regarded. by us from 
Buch rasM^ls as those^ who had no moi:e principle than 
pigs. The enemy had commenced early to return our 
fire, but their shot went high, and told amount some 
of the Dyaks in the rear, who thought. themselves Bafe. 
The chief, Sawing, .wa^ the active man, and was seen 
and heard giving directions right and left. He had 
•sent me a message only the. day before, to say. that he 
.awaited my arrival to amok* ^^ainat our force ; that 
he did not regard Dyaks as enemies. . . 

In the dusk of the evening a few of our party spoke 
tp the enemy, who had suffered much .from our shot, 
and. were, they said, willing to cojme to terms. It was 
jiow an impossibility, as our £c)rce of Dyaks would be 
uncontrollable, and I would never receive them except 
tp hang thepi aU, minus the women and. children. I 
did not trust much to their hollow words, so dis- 
patched a, party to. bring up more ajnpiunition in early 
naorning. The night closed in quiet and tranquil. 
Our sheds were only very temporary buildings, and 
merely sheltered us from the moon's beams. 

We had watches aU night, as I had no Dyaks to 
whom I could trust. The evening meal and cigar, 

* Euziniiig omuck. 


and then, amid a crowd of forms incongruously dis- 
posed,.! slept. The next morning, on looking round, 
the good Panglima Seman was sitting close to me. 
There waa a motley group of some hundreds of Dyaks 
congregated on all sides of my abode, dressed in war 
costume, and vociferating at the top of their voices, 
declaring that they would rest with their forefathers, 
or die, rather than not have the blood of the enemy. 
Their spitting and spluttering of vengeance was 

At an early hour Fitz Cruickshank arrived, having 
pulled night and day to overtake me. I was delighted 
to see him. He reported Aing, with the Sakarang 
force of seventy boats, to be some distance yet behind. 

My wish was to interfere, so as to save the women 
and children, if possible, and I dispatched a messenger 
within speaking distance of the house, to demand the 
Government arms and goods that had been taken from 
the Kanowit fort. After some time a few dollars and 
old muskets were sent. Then I sent to tell the women 
and children to come in. They replied, they were 
afraid of the Dyaks. So after giving them a certain 
time, and knowing there was no use in further delay, 
I ordered Abang Ali to advance and take the house if 
he could. The fellows rushed on, yelling fiercely, and 
the difierent tribes were evidently trying . to outdo 


each other in acts of bravery. I kept our small Malay 
force together in the stockade with Panglima Seman, 
as a panic might arise among them, and the besieged 
become desperate, and charge us ; so the gun was 
ready with grape and canister at a moment's notice. 
I watched the movements of the attacking party, and 
a more extraordinary sight could not have been wit- 
nessed. The Malays advanced to within thirty or 
forty yards of the house, and then cautiously sought 
shelter behind the stumps of trees, from which they 
could use their muskets. The Dyaks advanced madly 
until they were close, and some underneath the house, 
tumbling over obstacles, dashing right and left, in 
search for some place where they might ascend The 
enemy were blowing poisonous arrows at them. Our 
Dyaks conmienced clambering up the posts, carrying 
their arms and spears ; and after one had got a 
footing, peeping through the crevice, or removing some 
fragments occasioned by the shot of yesterday, there 
would be a momentary skirmish, and down they would 
all go to the ground again. A short time after, this 
scene was repeated, and then one had entered. In 
about five minutes out he came, and down they all 
jumped to the ground, evidently having encoimtered 
the enemy inside. One foolish and daring fellow had 
climbed to the top of the roof : of course he was killed^ 


One lot entered, and had a fight, sword to sword, with 
the enemy, in which two of our party were killed. 
And then a man brought a burning brand, and set 
the ends of the building on fire, which, immediately 
after was blazing furiously. Now came the horrors 
of war indeed. Some were burnt, some killed, some 
taken prisoners, and some few escaped. So ended 
that fortification. Its roof fell with a crash, leav- 
ing only its smoking embers to tell where it had 
stood. Our Dyaks were mad with excitement, fly- 
ing about with heads; many with fearful wounds, 
some even mortal. One lad came rushing and yelling 
past the stockade, with a head in one hand, and 
holding one side of his own face on with the other. 
He had had it cut clean open, and laid bare to the 
cheek-bone, yet he was insensible to pain for the time ; 
but before five minutes elapsed, he reeled and fell 
exhausted. We then doctored him the best way we 
could, by tying his cheek on as firmly as possible, in 
the hope that it would unite and heal. This it 
eventually did, leaving a fearful disfigurement. Many 
men had been struck by Sumpitan arrows, which were 
most mortally poisonous. 

My Lingga head man had received a wound, and 
was fainting, when I gave him brandy ; after which he 
was laid up three days with fever. To a few wounded 

TOL. I. A A 


Dyaks, also, brandy was administered, and they reco- 
vered after suflfering a few days. Kalei's wife and 
others were brought to ns as captives, and were 
handed to some of their relations among our force. 
We heard Sawing and Kalei had escaped, but how 
I never learnt. And now came the most tedious 
work of all, in getting Dyats to carry back the guns 
and ammunition. I was apprehensive they would 
leave us in the lurch ; it was no use trying to do 
anything so long as they were in such a disturbed 
state. At length some chie& came and engaged to 
take charge of them, and then we fell into marching 
order, and moved towards the landing-place. On my 
way back I passed many langkans of Dyaks. Some 
were merry over their victory, most were joyous; 
but I saw many who were grave, and lamenting the 
loss of some relation killed in the fray. Before one 
hut there lay a fine strapping fellow, having just 
breathed his last. I waited to look at the body, as 
he seemed only to sleep. He had been struck in the 
chest by an arrow, which left no more mark than 
the probe of a pin. After receiving the wound, he 
dosed oflF to wake no more, and died half-an-hour 
after he was struck. The people stood around his 
corpse, weeping sadly, without ostentation. Another 
handsome young fellow was cut down in the first 


attack inside the house. He had been with me in 
the morning, and said he woidd be the first to draw 
his sword. He did, and was the first killed. 

We walked on, and I was glad when I reached the 
boats, and felt, on again entering the Jolly, that it was 
an episode that would be remembered in the annals of 
this country. Our friends' lives were being avenged, 
but more had yet to be done. Our loss had been 
thirty-five killed, and numbers wounded ; the enemy, 
one way and another, must have lost over a hundred. 
And now, alas, too late, the Sakarang force had arrived, 
eighty boats strong. They saw victory without feeling 
it, and were severely galled in consequence. Their 
displeasure was directed against me, and I was obliged 
to give the chiefs (who sat around the JoUy's bul- 
warks) a few strong words of my mind, and dismissed 
them forthwith. They slunk away down the river 
again, after finding there was no enemy left. They 
had been in fault, and there was no help for it ; though 
they were my best and oldest friends. I heard one or 
two declare they would never follow me again. The 
victorious party were cheering and yelling their war 
cries, and this tended greatly to rile my friends ; a 
trivial pretext would have caused bloodshed between 
the victors and the disappointed. 

We remained at anchor that night, and in the 



evening I dispatched a party to recover the heads of 
our late friends, and to impose a fine on the parties 
who held them. These heads had been given away as 
a bait for the Dyaks to assist the Kanowit people. 
As a rule, there is a disinclination on the part of the 
Dyaks to meddle much with a white nuin's head ; they 
imagine the spirits do not altogether approve of the 

Lintong was the leader in obtaining these pieces of 
Dyak furniture ; a more active and a wilder fellow, with 
eyes ever rolling, and tongue ever wagging, could not 
be found. He was a thorough savage, and troublesome 
beyond measure, but useful at peculiar kinds of work, 
and cared nothing about old superstitions and practices 
After I had given the necessary directions, and told 
him to be quick, he would jump over the side into his 
boat, saying, " I never take long about anything.** 
The next day we weighed, and took only four hours in 
reaching Kanowit ; it had taken a day and a half 
going up. The bugler was playing, but I am afraid 
the music was somewhat lost on the natives. The 
fort was finished, and now had only to receive its 
guns. I dispatched an express boat with our news, 
which I was certain would gladden the hearts of the 
people in Sardwak. And now I remained to restore 
confidence among the Dyaks, and set a guard in the 


fort to keep things together during my absence. 
Abang Ali, the only really good man, took charge of it, 
and after seeing all the Dyak chiefs, and having 
chatted in a friendly manner with them, we bade adieu, 
and reached Saxikei, where I inflicted some severe 
fines, and paid a visit to Seriff Massahore's house. He 
received me with a salute as I entered his audience- 
hall. Fitz accompanied me. We were then taken 
inside the house by ourselves, and confronted with his 
mother and sister. The former kept her stem eyes on 
me the whole time, and I never saw a more disagreeable 
or worse mannered old hag. The daughter was a 
strapping wench, very fair, and had the large rolling 
dark eye of an Italian ; she looked a wild one. I was 
very silent, and glad to leave the house ; they again 
saluted, and it waa returned from aboard the Jolly. 

Most of my party had started for Sarawak, and as I 
was weighing anchor, the SeriflF Massahore came on 
board with twenty followers, armed ; he and his 
people assisted in hauKng at the ropes, and told me I 
should travel in a steamer. I cordially bade him fare- 
well, and thanked him for the assistance he had 
afforded me. In two days we were in Sarawak. On 
my arrival. Grant and Alderson received me with 
every honour, in salutes and decorations. The native 
chiefs met me half way down the river, and their 


people, in numerous small boats, towed both our vessels 
up. I was immensely proud of such a reception. 

AlGFairs now were apparently quiet in the country ; I 
therefore concluded we should have peace for a length 
of time. Little did I know what was fermenting in 
the minds of so many under the smooth surface. I 
required rest, as my nervous system was somewhat 
shaky, now the excitement of past events was over. 
Our first social improvement was laying the foundation 
of a hospital, which was sadly required, as the sick 
were a public nuisance in the streets, living on the 
alms received from their countrymen. The Chinamen 
subscribed liberally towards it. The site was chosen, 
and the building in a few months was completed, 
consisting of a large, commodious house, capable of 
receiving two long lines of beds for sick persons. 
Affairs generally looked prosperous. Trade in Sagu 
was especially brisk, antimony ore being worked in 
greater quantities than formerly ; and even our 
revenues looked somewhat better than they had done 
for a long time past. 

In the month of September, 1859, I heard our old 
sinner, the Datu Hadji, had been absent on an excursion 
down the river, calling at some Dyak houses, and on 
making inquiry, I found he had gone on to Lundu. 
This movement was contrary to regulation, as he was 


supposed to be under the supervision of his relatives in 

After a few days the Tumonggong (one of the oldest 
chiefs) came to me in the morning and said, " Tuan, 
take care of yourself ; don't go about, as you are in 
the habit of doing, unprotected You ride by yourself 
and walk unarmed ; any man can waylay and murder 
you. jRemembeVy I caution you as an old man and 

His observations and manner produced a great eflFect 
on my mind. I knew him to be sincere by his tone, 
and he had ordered his followers out of the room before 
he commenced speaking. I promised him sincerely I 
would be more cautious in future. He farther observed, 
that many suspicious reports had been fljring about> 
before the Tuan Besar left for England ; he had also 
warned him to be cautious. " The fines," he added, 
"imposed on Mukah seemed for a time to quiet affairs." 

The same evening the principal chiefs were assembled 
and asked whether they recommended the Europeans 
wearing arms. I told them it was contrary to our 
customs, and I was extremely averse to issue such a 
regulation, but would do so if they thought it neces- 
sary. They were evidently pleased with the idea, and 
answered, " Why do we wear arms ? because we can- 
not trust our neighbours." The Imaum said, " I am a 


Hadji, and not supposed to wear a sword, but look !" 
and he opened his jacket, showing his hidden kris, a 
foot in length, and sharp as a razor. I was aware it 
was quite useless asking them to give their authority 
for these suspicions ; and the next morning, an order 
was given for Europeans to wear arms on all occasions. 
For the last three days I had particularly remarked 
my personal servant had been about me more than 
usual, showing many little attentions in which he was 
generally very lax. He had also placed my revolver 
carefully outside my pillow, instead of underneath; and 
had, when he made the bed, laid my sword drawn, so 
as to be by my side. I could not account for the 
change at the time, and always being accustomed to 
have a sword for a bed-fellow, no particular remark 
followed; but other coincidences brought the matter to 
light Two nights before, strange to say, two sus- 
picious-looking characters were seen walking round my 
bungalow. When hailed, they disappeared. The 
Court-writer, an old and faithful servant, had cautioned 
me against sleeping in a small open bungalow ; but 
this was a matter of necessity, as there was no other. 
After these numerous breaths of danger brewing, I con- 
sidered we were justified in arming ; in fact, we should 
be neglecting the public weal if it were not done. 
A few days after this a report came to me that the 


Datu Hadji had been concerting plans with a Sibuyau 
Dyak chief, to be in readiness at a certain time with 
his people, to amok into the fort in Sardwak, and take 
the heads of all those who resisted. The same Dyak 
had been heard to say, on several occasions, that the 
white men would not remain long as leaders ; and he 
intended supporting the Datu Hadji and Brunei Rajahs 
against the rule of strangers. 

A letter at this time was received by the Bishop 
from Mr. Gomez, the missionary at Lundu, who com- 
plained of a Nakodah (who was a relative of the Datu 
Hadji), having spread evil reports among the Dyaks. 
He told the Orang Kaya that he had better not become 
a Christian, as all of that following would shortly be 
put to death. And many other stories of a similar 
nature were rife. After I had ascertained the ground 
of such statements, and found them corroborated by 
many who were cognisant of facts, I determined to 
put a stop to Datu Hadji's doing more injury. So 
I assembled the chiefs, and acquainted them that I 
should turn him out of the country immediately he 
returned, and should prepare at once in case any oppo- 
sition was shown. The chiefs seemed satisfied, and said 
that they were powerless with such an old and morose 
man, and recommended me to use my own judgment 
in dealing with him, engaging to assist me. Guns were 


loaded, and gunboats fenced in, but everything was done 
quietly without a bustle. A guard was placed in the 
Government House, and the apertures were barred to 
prevent sudden rushes. The day after, the culprit, 
who had returned, was informed he had to leave the 
country. Friendly people were mustered from neigh- 
bouring rivers, and were lounging about in groups, 
ready at a moment's notice. The place assumed a 
striking appearance, and parading parties whispered 
together significantly; all wore arms, and work was 
suspended. Next morning came, and the Sardwak 
chiefs, first of all, assembled the Nakodahs and popu- 
lation in the native Court The Bandar addressed them 
in these curt words : . " I follow the Sarawak Govern- 
ment ; there is business to be done.. All those who are 
disposed to follow and assist me, hold up their hands." 
They aU responded favourably, and he then made 
known, "The government banishes Datu Hadji and 
Nakodah Dulah from Sardwak, as they are considered 
too dangerous to live among us." Some of his rela- 
tives conveyed the news to him, and told the Hadji 
he had to leave the next day ; an allowance would be 
granted to him by government. Kesistance was use- 
less on his part; but it was said, if he could have 
obtained a following he would have been ready to head 
them. People, however, were unwilling to knock their 


heads against certain destruction. The chiefs came and 
reported fully what had passed, and they stood respon- 
sible for his conduct during his short stay here. So 
terminated this affair. He left amid many kind fare- 
wells, and the people returned to their everyday occu- 
pations, knowing that a dangerous rascal had been ex- 
pelled the country. Most of them were really glad in 
their hearts. I was more puzzled, however, what to do 
with the Dyak, who was differently implicated. He was 
committed to prison for an indefinite period ; and his 
followers hung about the entrance and gates for several 
days, complaining loudly ; but at length, finding the 
law deaf to their remonstrances, they went to their 
homes, and soon thought more of their padi farms than 
the prisoner. 

I now again visited Sakarang, thinking that our 
path was quite smooth. The north-east monsoon was 
setting in, and then, communication would be difficult 
with Sarawak, as the sea runs very high on our coast 
in that season. It lasts for about six weeks in one 
continual gale, between Christmas and the middle of 
February. Before, and after, there are also heavy 
blows for about a fortnight ; and after March the 
south-west monsoon sets in fair and smooth, when 
calms are prevalent for a month, before the sea and 
land breezes set in regularly. This has been my ex- 


perience for ten years, as an average during that time ; 
but the seasons vary very much, and we seldom get 
two consecutive monsoons exactly alike. The sea runs 
high on the coast, which is exposed to the northerly 
winds, down from the China seas, and as the water is 
shallow it occasions a nasty short wave. 

In proceeding up the Sakarang river, I happened to 
stop at an intermediate Dyak's house, and while there 
had an opportunity of witnessing the most dangerous 
part of the breaking of the bore. The sight is very 
exciting, as well as very grand, for the wave, about 
ten feet high, broke in a mass of foam from bank to 
bank, with a mighty roar. It passed close to our 
boat's stem, which was hauled up, and then dashed on, 
being followed by a succession of about fifteen large 
rollers of equal height close together. Its average 
pace is fifteen miles per hour, but in the shallow, and 
through tortuous passages, it meets with considerable 
obstacles, and is retarded in consequence. The little 
Dyak boys seem never to tire of coming down to the 
river's bank to welcome this flood; and in the less 
dangerous places go out in their canoes to race on 
its curling wave : the upshot is that nine out of ten are 
swamped, — ^but it matters little, as after it passes they 
shake the water out, and jnmp into their boats again. 
No boat can stand its force, and in many places it 


would dash over a vessel's bows and break her moor- 
ings. This is by far the most dangerous river we 
have ; and to recount the narrow escapes with which 
I have met while pulling up and down, would be im- 
measurably tiresome to my readers. One's heart gene- 
rally jumps in certain places, as such dangers are 
different from a sea-way, which is continuous. In a 
river you are drawn in, and swung about in a helpless 
condition, even though close to the banks ; large trees 
of several feet in diameter are seen bounding on, then 
whirled and dashed again to the sandy bottom ; and 
such sights at night in the most dangerous places are 
awful. The different native names for points and 
bays express unpleasant localities, as, Fearful, Agi- 
tated, and Evil points ; the Devil's Bay, &c. 

The Sakarang folk, on my reaching the fort, flocked 
about me, and the remark made by the most sensible 
man was, that I should look a much older man than 
I did, if I was not a remarkably good-tempered one, 
and took things as they came : he concluded that I 
had been in diflSculties all my life, and I permitted 
him to retain the belief. Then a young Dyak lady 
of Lingga, whom I had not met for some years, 
observed, after a few preliminary remarks, " Ah, since 
seeing you I have had two children; but I always 
bear you in remembrance, as your image rests on the 


top of my head, and whether you are in this country 
or living at the edge of the sky, it is the same, for 
we cannot forget each other." I received this remark 
as a true image from the heart, as she had always been 
my very aflfectionate admirer, as I was hers. 

Lela Pelawan, of Lingga, was also present He 
complained, in a deprecating tone, that the times were 
hard with him. He had ever been a spendthrift, and 
was always badly off for every necessary of life, but 
yet one of those individuals whose very failings 
assisted to attach him to one : he never thought of 
his cash until some wise steward had deprived him of 
it all ; and never saw a danger before he was in the 
very heart of it. Lela Pelawan deprecated our system 
of free trade, as he said he could not obtain padi from 
the Dyaks at his own price, and was obliged to pay 
any exorbitant sum they demanded. He expressed 
himself strongly, though good-naturedly, that this 
had not been the custom of his forefathers, and was 
therefore wrong, as the Malays suffered much inconve- 
nience from it. " You," he added, " must either give 
me padi or money, for I am so poor I shall appear 
a disgrace to your name as being one of your people." 
This news of the increasing independence of the Dyaks 
was very satisfactory to my ears, as it showed it was 
no longer in the power of the Malays to oppress 


them. So Lela Pelawan had a few dollars presented 
to him, which I felt sure would be in some one eWs 
keeping in a few hours. I may add, that this poor 
man, although the head man of a country, was a very 
hen-pecked husband ; for his wife, as I know, had a 
most terrific temper, and most of the cases brought 
before him for settlement were summarily decided by 
her arbitrary rule. 

The police and fort-men that we have been in the 
habit of employing, have been principally the people 
of the country, sometimes also Javanese and Boyans ; 
but I have found the latter two classes of men to be 
exceedingly slow and stupid, and far less plucky than 
our inhabitants ; in fact, there is no doubt that Dyaks 
would become unequalled soldiers for these climes — 
quick* of comprehension as they are, in muscle wiry 
to a degree, and capable of endurance under any 
difficulties. They would, when properly drilled and 
disciplined, make a most valuable military force. But 
there are difficulties, and the greatest is that they are 
by nature exceedingly stubborn, perverse, and sulky. 
Such qualities demand extra care and kindness, 
though the temper would be of extra value when 
moulded into shape, with its rough edges filed down. 

A strange custom prevails among the Sadong Dyaks, 
but has not been practised of late years. A request 


was brought to me to stop for good such an absurd 
anomaly. Two branch tribes of the same river, 
named Engkroh and Engrat, had been for many years 
on terms of hostility, but for the last three they had 
made peace. ' A Malay chie^ who was staying with 
the Engkrohs, told me he saw a large force of armed 
men advancing towards the Engkrohs' houses. These 
he found to be the Engrats, who immediately pro- 
ceeded to cut down fruit-trees, and to rush into houses, 
carrying away and destroying everything they could 
lay hands on. The Engkroh people sat quietly wit- 
nessing the scene of the devastation of their property. 
After a while, the Engrats went away again, and then 
the Malay inquired the cause of this sudden and 
destructive proceeding. He was informed that it was 
merely an old-established custom for each tribe to do 
so once to each other after peace had been concluded. 
The Engkrohs now were entitled to retaliate, and help 
themselves to the goods of the Engrats. As this prac- 
tice had been almost obsolete for many years, and 
without doubt was better sleeping with their fore- 
fathers, an order was . sent to the Engrat people to 
refund the property taken, and likewise to pay a small 
fine in the stead of things lost or damaged. 

The Dyaks have a great admiration for a man who 
talks fluently and well ; and it is common with them 


to comment critically on these points. For instance, 
they would say, " He can't talk — ^he knows nothing ! " 
" He is clever in speech : we are fond of hearing him.*' 
Some of their best orators are copious in drawing com- 
parisons, and making compliments as flowery as some 
of the speeches in the " Arabian Nights." Thus— 
" The heart is as large as the highest mountain, and as 
brave as the beasts that live thereon ; your eyes 
only to be compared to the sparkling rays of the 
sun; your thoughts equal the purity of the stream 
passing over gravelly beds ; and your wisdom is like 
the fertility of the richest soil." However, these pre- 
ludes to speech are being rapidly curtailed; and in 
Court, if an old chief begins with the flowery oratory 
on which he prides himself so much, people (particu- 
larly myself) ask him to be kind enough to favour his 
audience with the fruit without the flowers, or the 
contents without the shells, or words from the heart 
in preference to those fix)m the mouth only ; even then, 
it is sufficiently difficult to understand and follow the 
thread of many old cases whose history runs through 
all sorts of tortuous branches on every side for gene- 

December, 1859. — I must here relate two proceed- 
ings in which I took a very important part, namely, the 
marriages of two Seriffs, or descendants of the Prophet. 

VOL. I. B B 


The first was engaged to a daughter of the old Seriff 
Mullah, with whose family I had for many years been 
intimately acquainted. One of these pretty damsels 
was now engaged to another Seriflf, as they are not 
permitted, according to custom, to be joined in holy 
matrimony to any person of lower degree. Her be- 
trothed had arranged to start, on the night the cere- 
mony was to take place, from the fort. Abang Amg 
and myself were requested to give the bridegroom 
away, according to their custom. The evening came. 
Fantastical branch candelabras were arranged, and 
flambeaux blazed in a long procession. The bride- 
groom had been dressed in the choicest habiliments of 
an Arab, before the looking-glass in my bed-room. 
Guns were fired, and we proceeded to the house of 
the bride. On arriving there, mats were tastefidly 
arranged, and curtains closed off certain parts of the 
house. Near the doorway a small square mat was 
placed, on which the bridegroom squatted ; then the 
principals of the proceedings sat around The old 
Seriff Mullah took the bridegroom's hand, and repeated 
the marriage-contract, namely, that he had received 
such a one for wife, with an engagement to pay thirty 
slaves as dowry. Besides this, there were many words 
in Arabic, which I did not understand. A devout 
prayer followed, during which all except myself re- 


sponded piously. The Seriff Mullah then slipped past 
to the bride's apartments, and Abang Aing taking one 
arm of the bridegroom, and I the other, we marched 
him up through a large concourse of people, and seated 
him on the bed of the bride, who was there bedecked 
in bridal costume, consisting of gold-spangled clothes 
folded all over her, with a coronet of white flowers on 
her head. We sat on the decorated platform also for 
a few minutes ; it was grandly embellished with tinsel- 
work and chintz of various colours; candles and 
torches were burning in every direction. The Seriff 
Mullah repeated a few words of prayer, the bridegroom 
placed his hand on the bride's head, and the ceremony 
was consummated — ^the curtain fell. After this, viands 
of various sorts appeared, for which the old Seriff 
Mullah had been anxiously waiting for a length of 
time, and was in a sad humour in consequence. He 
now brightened up and called his next neighbour a fool, 
asking him if he felt hungry. We all went to work 
eating rice, venison and fowls, cooked exceedingly well 
and tastily stuffed ; then came sweets and coffee, 
followed by cigars. The Seripas, or females of the 
Seriff's fEtmilies, were sitting just behind, nudging me 
continually, telling me not to be shamefaced, but eat 
till I was full, and as a recommendation they added, 
"We made all those things with our own fingers." 


One speaking too loud for propriety, called down a 
stem rebuke from the old father, who said, " Instead 
of talking so loud behind the curtain, you had better 
come out and sit down and behave yourselves properly," 
which advice the youngest followed. She was the 
prettiest one, too, nearly as fair as a European, and I 
believe, if dressed in European clothes, might have 
passed as one. At a late hour we marched home 
together, and that night I dreamt of Seripas. I pitied 
them for the laws which only permit them to marry 
with their own class or rank ; the result is, they often 
fail to get husbands at all, or at any rate, legiti- 
mate ones. 

The next marriage took place a short while after- 
wards, when I acted the same happy and important 
part, and disported myself on the bride's bed for a 
considerable time, among many devout Mahomedans 
in a blaze of light. My presence there did not cause 
me to be a worse Christian, or them to depart from 
any of their Mahomedan rites and usages. It is a pity 
such compliances cannot take place oftener, and that 
more good feeling is not displayed between people 
holding these two apparently antagonistic creeds. I 
don't believe fanaticism is so present in the Mahome- 
dan religion as people suppose. The impression or 
feeling is more one of jealousy in their minds towards 


rphite men, and the Christian too often evinces a 
4riumphant bearing of pity, tinctured with contempt, 
towards Mahomedans. I must say I have always 
found the latter willing to converse freely and rationally 
on the diflferent points of their religion, acknowledging 
Christ as one of the prophets, inferior only to Mahomet 
and a few others. They are a happy set among them- 
selves ; but ignorance is their bane, and their creed does 
not encourage mental culture. But does any religion 
permit and direct a teaching to be strictly impartial, 
even at home ? The student, who is told to inquire 
for himself, has always had the letter laid down to the 
greatest nicety, and any deviation from its written 
code is severely deprecated and condemned. 





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